Back in January 2018, news broke that one Oscar-nominated actor was reportedly paid way, way less than her male costar for doing reshoots on a big-name film. Now, according to People, Michelle Williams addressed the Mark Wahlberg pay disparity controversy while speaking on Capitol Hill this week, and her comments on the matter were deeply personal.
On April 2, Williams reportedly recounted her harrowing experience in front of a crowd in Washington, D.C. on Equal Pay Day. The actor opened up about what she went through after learning that she'd been paid less than 1 percent of Wahlberg's salary for All the Money In the World re-shoots, and revealed that it left her "paralyzed in feelings of futility," People reported.
Williams credited fellow actor Jessica Chastain for first breaking the story for her via Twitter, which — after quite an uproar — ultimately led Wahlberg to donate his re-shoot salary to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. That wasn't the only positive outcome, though. Williams said it also ended up changing her professional environment for the better. She explained,
"I could tell my workplace was shifting. Rather than being grasped too tightly or hugged for too long as a morning greeting, my hand was shaken and I was looked squarely in the eye and I was welcomed to my Monday morning. On the job I just completed two weeks ago, I have to tell you, I was paid equally with my male costar."
The star explained what it was, exactly, that moved her to speak at the Equal Pay Day event, despite the fact that her story is one that she said she'd "normally resist." Williams went on to call the controversy, "a morality tale with a happy ending, or rather a happy beginning because that’s really why I’m here."
She then added that, "There won’t be satisfaction for me until I can exhaust my efforts ensuring that all women experience the elevation of their self-worth and its connection to the elevation of their market worth." Respect.
So, just as a refresher, the All the Money In the World reshoots occurred after the film's director, Ridley Scott, decided to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer. Spacey was set to appear in the lead role as John Paul Getty III, but Scott opted to make the change after Spacey was accused of sexual assault. (The actor, for his part, has claimed that he had no memory of the events that brought on the allegations, but he apologized if he caused any harm.)
The whole thing sounded like it was kind of a nightmare, and ended up causing Williams to have to miss Thanksgiving with her family. However, when the actor told her daughter she'd have to work through the holiday, Williams said that the then-12-year-old was "so supportive," according to an interview with Vulture in 2018. "[She] said, 'You worked so hard on this [movie]. Don’t let it be ruined because of one bad man.'" Wise beyond her years, that one.
It's unfortunate that Williams had to go through an ordeal like that at all. She's not alone in her experience, though, and it's inspiring to see that she's doing all she can to create some very necessary changes.