Jessica Chastain helped Octavia Spencer get five times her salary

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Jessica Chastain listened when Octavia Spencer said that women of color needed to be included in the discussion about pay equality.

According to Spencer, Chastain brokered a “favored nations” deal in which she tied her own salary to Spencer’s in an upcoming holiday comedy. As a result, they were paid five times their asking salary.

“I have a story, and you guys are gonna be the first to hear it,” Spencer told a panel on Women Breaking Barriers at the Sundance Film Festival, according to IndieWire.

She described how Chastain approached her about doing a comedy together. Since they had become friends since starring together in The Help, Spencer loved the idea.

“She wants to do comedies, and I wanna break out of period pieces,” she said, to laughter from the crowd. “I love ’em! They’ve been kind to me! But I kinda wanna play someone who resembles me in some fashion.”

She then described how the conversation turned to pay equity: “We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there. And then 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.’ 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 became visibly emotional but assured the crowd that “These are happy tears!” before she 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.”

“Now, I wanna go to what the men are making!” Spencer added, to cheers from the crowd.

Take note, white feminists. This is how allies act.

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