Pay Inequality and Sexism Still Rife in Hollywood


When used for good, a celebrity's voice is louder than anyone's. Michelle Williams riveting comments in Washington DC yesterday were a searing acknowledgment that pay inequity and plain old rampant sexism is still rife in Hollywood. 

A quick refresher: in 2017, it emerged that Williams, shooting the film "All the Money In the World" (irony unintended), was paid less than $1,000 for days of reshoots necessitated by recasting of Christopher Plummer to take the place of Kevin Spacey in the aftermath of accusations of Spacey's sexual predation (second unintended irony.) Meanwhile, Williams co-star, Mark Wahlberg, received $1.5 million for the same work. 

Williams said she was "paralyzed in feelings of futility" when she learned of the discrepancy. "And guess what? Nobody cared." It wasn't until her friend, Jessica Chastain, wrote about the inequity that the story became a scandal, with Wahllberg donating the money to the Time's Up Defense Fund fighting for gender equity in Hollywood.

Beyond the pay issue, Williams matter-of-factly noted that, these days, "rather than being grasped too tightly or hugged for too long as a morning greeting, my hand was shaken..."

It's a reminder—just like the first stories about Harvey Weinstein's sexual stalking of actresses like Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow—that even rich and famous women can be treated appallingly in a Hollywood still run by the old school. More candor like Williams' is the only way to root this out. Hollywood knows one thing: fame gets attention.

Larry Hackett