Equal Pay Day: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, More Actresses Who’ve Spoken Out

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Fighting for what’s right! Many Hollywood actresses have utilized their platforms to try and close the gender pay gap and advocate to be compensated the same as their male counterparts.

Michelle Williams was put at the forefront of the situation when it was revealed in January 2018 that she was paid less than $1,000 to reshoot scenes in All The Money in the World, while her costar Mark Wahlberg made $1.5 million. While the Greatest Showman actress did not immediately respond to the drama, many fellow women in Hollywood fired back on her behalf.

“UNACCEPTABLE. UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TO SAY THE LEAST,” Busy Philipps, Williams’ longtime best friend, tweeted at the time. “SHAMEFUL IS CORRECT.”

Jessica Chastain, for her part, wrote in a series of tweets: “I heard for the reshoot she got $80 a day compared to his MILLIONS. Would anyone like to clarify? I really hope that with everything coming to light, she was paid fairly. She’s a brilliant actress and is wonderful in the film. Please go see Michelle’s performance in All The Money in The World. She’s a brilliant Oscar nominated Golden Globe winning actress. She has been in the industry for 20 yrs. She deserves more than 1% of her male costar’s salary.”

Wahlberg subsequently donated his compensation to a women’s organization in the Dawson’s Creek alum’s honor. “Over the last few days my reshoot fee for All the Money in the World has become an important topic of conversation,” he said in a statement at the time. “I 100 percent support the fight for fair pay and I’m donating the $1.5 million to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name.”

The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund was founded just days before news of Williams’ minimal pay broke. According to the National Women’s Law Center website, the fund was created to raise money to “connect women who experience workplace sexual harassment and retaliation with attorneys and, in some cases, media specialists.”

Scroll down to find out Viola Davis, Emma Stone and more stars have said about equal pay!

Julianna Margulies

The Good Wife alum wanted to be a part of the show’s spinoff, The Good Fight, but could not accept the offer because the network would not compensate her fairly. “CBS refused to pay my [ask],” Margulies told Deadline in May 2019. “I’m not a guest star; I started the whole thing with The Good Wife. I wanted to be paid my worth and stand up for equal pay.” She later told SiriusXM’s Jessica Shaw that she needs “to pave the way for the next one coming up,” which is why she would not settle for less than she deserves.

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Scarlett Johansson

The Black Widow actress told Cosmopolitan in May 2016 that she is “proud” to make as much as her male counterparts, but understands the importance of still fighting for equality in Hollywood. “I think every woman has [been underpaid],” she noted. “But unless I’m addressing it as a larger problem, for me to talk about my own personal experience with it feels a little obnoxious. It’s part of a larger conversation about feminism in general.”

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Amy Schumer

Schumer confessed in August 2017 that she did not think she deserved “equal pay to Chris [Rock] and Dave [Chappelle],” who each earned $20 million for their Netflix specials. “They are legends and 2 of the greatest comics of all time,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “I didn’t ask for the same as my friends. I did ask for more than the initial offer.” However, the I Feel Pretty actress mused that she believes “women deserve equal pay” and “will continue to work [her] ass off and be the best performer [she] can be.”

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Sophie Turner

The Game of Thrones actress did not make as much money playing Sansa Stark on the HBO series as her costar Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, but she understood the pay discrepancy. “Kit got more money than me, but he had a bigger story line,” Turner told Harper’s Bazaar in April 2019. “And for the last series [season], he had something crazy, like, 70 night shoots, and I didn’t have that many. I was like, ‘You know what … you keep that money.’” The X-Men actress added, however, that she thinks “it will take a while” for women in Hollywood to be paid equally.

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Michelle Williams

Williams admitted in May 2019 that she was “paralyzed in feelings of futility” after she learned how much Wahlberg made for the Money in the World reshoots. She noted during a rally on Capitol Hill: “It’s the kind of story I would normally resist: the morality tale with a happy ending, or rather a happy beginning because that’s really why I’m here. 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.”

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Emma Stone

The La La Land actress has spoken out about this issue many times. She told Vogue in November 2016, “We should all be treated fairly and paid fairly. I’ve been lucky enough to have equal pay to my male costars. Not ‘lucky.’ I’ve had equal pay to my male costars in the past few films. But our industry ebbs and flows in a  way that’s like, ‘How much are you bringing to the box office?’ What are we at [nationally]? 75 cents to the dollar? It’s insane. There’s no excuse for it anymore.” 


Stone also revealed in a July 2017 interview with Out magazine that her male costars have made sacrifices on her behalf. “In my career so far, I’ve needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,” the Amazing Spider-Man alum explained. “And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, ‘That’s what’s fair.’”

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Viola Davis

A true voice for change! The How to Get Away With Murder star expressed her views in a February 2016 interview with Mashable. “I believe in equal pay, first of all. I’m sorry, if a woman does the same job as a man, she should be paid the same amount of money. She just should,” insisted Davis. “That’s just the way the world should work. What are you telling your daughter when she grows up? ‘You’ve got to understand that you’re a girl. You have a vagina, so that’s not as valuable.’ What are you telling her?”

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Patricia Arquette

Arquette made headlines at the 2015 Oscars when she commented on women’s rights during her Best Actress in a Supporting Role acceptance speech for her performance in Boyhood. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she contended.

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Emmy Rossum

The Shameless star initially demanded equal pay as her costar William H. Macy in December 2016. According to Variety, she then asked to be paid more than Macy “to make up for previous seasons where she was making significantly less than him.”


Although Rossum never publicly discussed the pay dispute, it was seemingly resolved as she confirmed later that month that she would return for the Showtime series’ eighth season.

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Robin Wright

Wright asked to be paid the same as her House of Cards costar Kevin Spacey in May 2016. The Netflix actress told The Huffington Post at the time, “I wanted to be paid the same as Kevin. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards.’”


Wright added that she told Netflix, “You better pay me or I’m going to go public.”

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Hilary Swank

Swank told Chelsea Handler in October 2016 that Boys Don’t Cry didn’t compensate her enough to cover her health insurance. Swank also revealed that she only made five percent of her male costars’ earnings for another film. “But the male hadn’t had any kind of critical success, but had been in a movie where he was ‘hot.’ And he got offered $10 million and I got offered $500,000,” she said.

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Michelle Rodriguez

The Fast and Furious star spoke candidly about the gender pay gap in a May 2016 interview with TMZ. “It’s like being born a slave,” she said. “You know, it’s like, ‘Oh, damn. Darn my luck. I wish I was born somewhere else or maybe some other way.’ But it is what it is.”

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