As Michelle Williams took to the stage to accept her award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for her portrayal of Broadway star Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon, she used her platform as a prime opportunity to plead for pay equality – especially for women of colour.
Michelle Williams said she felt ‘paralysed’ after suffering at the hands of one of the greatest pay discrepancies in Hollywood. After the decision was made to re-cast Kevin Spacey’s role in – the ironically named – All The Money In The World, Michelle Williams discovered she was being paid £728 for reshoots whilst her male co-star, Mark Wahlberg, was paid £1.1 million.
After hugging her BFF, Busy Philipps, who she was attending the ceremony with – in a powerful showing of sisterhood – Michelle said, I see this as an acknowledgment of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they’ll be heard.
When I asked for more dance classes I heard yes. More voice lessons, yes. A different wig, a pair of fake teeth not made out of rubber, yes. All of these things they require effort and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon.”
Did Michelle Williams just win an Emmy for winning an Emmy?
– Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) September 23, 2019
Michelle continued by saying: “I want to say thank you so much to FX and to Fox 21 studios for supporting me completely and for paying me equally because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value.
“Then, where do they put that value?” she said becoming increasingly empowered. “They put it into their work and so the next time a woman and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents to the dollar compared to her white male counterpart, tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”