Jessica Chastain Fighting For Equal Pay for Octavia Spencer is a Perfect Example of Allyship
By: Stephen Hladik
In one of the more heartwarming stories to come out this year, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer have united together to fight for equal pay. The two actresses who first starred together in 2011's The Help, where they both were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Spencer won, are currently working on a new movie together described as a Christmas comedy.
When discussing salary, Spencer brought up the inequality between white women and women of color - "I said, 'But here's the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women," Spencer recalled. "So, if we're gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table." From there, a shocked Chastain told Spencer that they were going to be ‘favored nations” and she would make sure they both made the same amount of money on the movie. According to Spencer, they are now making five times their original amount.
Octavia told this story this past week at Sundance where she was visibly emotional when she was speaking. “I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and talking the talk” is what Spencer said of Chastain. Chastain also negotiated for Jada Pinkett Smith to recieve the same amount of money for this movie. Jessica has become one of the most outspoken actresses in Hollywood, speaking out for the Times Up movement, the pay gap, and for the lack of roles for women in Hollywood. She made headlines at the Cannes Film Festival this past year when said in a press conference how disappointed she was at the female roles she saw on screen during the festival.
Chastain has been commended for being a true ally for Spencer and for using her privilege to stand in solidarity with another one of our best actresses whom has not been given the same amount of opprotunities or money due to being African Americn. Spencer made history this past week for being the first African American actress to be nominated for multiple Oscars after winning (after her 2011 win for The Help, she receieved nominations last year for Supporting Actress for Hidden Figures and this year for The Shape of Water.) This is the kind of activism we need to see more of in Hollywood. We need to see more of this from our white celebrities, using their platform and privilege to combat white supremacy and patriarchy in Hollywood. This kind of solidarity shows real action and yields real results.