Jada Pinkett Smith Praises Jessica Chastain for Fighting for Equal Pay in Hollywood
“Jessica stood up for Octavia and I want you to know because they stood together, they got three times what they were asking for as a unit,” she said during a panel at the Sundance Film Festival, according to the Associated Press.
Pinkett Smith stressed the importance of women fighting for one another — even when no one is watching.
“It’s nice to go out and march, we can do that. It’s nice to wear black at the Golden Globes,” she said. “But what are we doing behind closed doors? And I got to give our sister Jessica Chastain her props.”
Pinkett Smith’s comments come after Spencer also revealed that Chastain helped her get five times her initial salary offer on the film.
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At Sundance, Spencer said she and Chastain were discussing the issue of pay equity in Hollywood when the Shape of Water star began explaining how it was even worse for women of color. Shocked by how much less Spencer was paid simply because of her skin color, Chastain vowed to help.
“I said, ‘But here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table,'” Spencer recalled saying to Chastain. “And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she said she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color.”
Spencer continued: “I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk. She said, ‘Octavia we’re gonna get you paid on this film. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.’ Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”
Chastain responded to Spencer’s story on Twitter, saying, “Men should start doing this with their female costars.”