In an emotional conversation at the Sundance Film Festival, Octavia Spencer relayed how her friend and co-star Jessica Chastain advocated for her to get more pay through a business deal on their upcoming comedy project.
At the panel, Spencer detailed how in March 2017, Chastain approached her about the holiday comedy film, and the two ended up venting about pay equality (her story starts around 19:30 in the video).
“She was like, ‘It’s time that women get paid the same as men!'” Spencer said, quoting Chastain. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, Jessica! It’s time!’ And we were dropping f-bombs and getting it all out there.”
But then Spencer said she explained to Chastain that women of color make far less than even white women.
“So if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we’ve got to bring the women of color to the table,” Spencer said. “And I told her my story and we talked numbers and she was quiet, and she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color.”
“I love that woman because she’s walking the walk, and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said.
Spencer said Chastain kept her word, and thanks to her, Spencer is now making “five times” what she originally asked for. On Twitter later, Spencer thanked Chastain again.
“I just know she stood with me, and am eternally grateful,” Spencer wrote.
@akstanwyck this is correct except I should clarify that I am making 5x my salary bc Jessica stood with me. I don’t know what or if it cost her anything as far as her rate, I just know she stood with me, and am eternally grateful. https://t.co/JH8QRUIVJc
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) January 24, 2018
Chastain replied on Twitter and called on men to follow her lead.
“She had been underpaid for so long,” Chastain wrote. “When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.”
She had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that , I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) January 24, 2018
Other celebrities chimed in to praise Chastain for her “sister solidarity.”
Oooooh loving this story about Jessica Chastain & Octavia Spencer using collective bargaining
Bonus: they can play themselves in the movie version!
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) January 25, 2018
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 22, 2018
Writer Mikki Kendall explained how Chastain is an example of good feminist allyship.
“This is how you ally. Right here,” she wrote. “You make sure the people around you benefit from your privilege.”
This is how you ally. Right here. You make sure the people around you benefit from your privilege. https://t.co/UQQSQF01Jw
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) January 25, 2018
H/T BuzzFeed News