How Jessica Chastain Fought to Get Octavia Spencer Equal Pay

The Molly's Game actress went to bat for her The Help co-star and friend

By Kendall Fisher Jan 25, 2018 6:01 PMTags

Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer just proved the power of sisterhood.

During the Women Breaking Barriers panel at the Sundance Film Festival on Wednesday, Spencer revealed how the red-headed star went to bat for her for pay equity.

As Spencer recalled, Chastain approached her to work on a holiday comedy together about 15 months ago. Spencer was for it, but she wanted to be paid fairly. She explained the pay gap between white and black actresses to Chastain who simply wasn't having it.

"I love that woman because she's walking the walk, and she's actually talking the talk," Spencer explained. "She said, 'Octavia we're going to get you paid on this film...And you and I are going to be tied together. We're going to be favored nations, and we're going to make the same thing."

Octavia Spencer's Best Looks

Spencer began tearing up as she continued, "Fast forward to last week, we're making five times what we asked for."

However, she noted, "Now, I want to go to what the men are making!"

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

After the story began making its rounds on social media, Chastain tweeted a response, encouraging men to do the same for their female co-stars.

"She had been underpaid for so long," she wrote. "When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to  bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars."

Jada Pinkett Smith also spoke out regarding Spencer's story and asked for all women of various races to come together in solidarity.

"The disparity of pay between...women of color (Black women, Native American women, Latin women, Asian women and so on) and white women is a reality in many industries," Pinkett Smith wrote. "I can only hope that with all the beautiful alliances made as of late in the entertainment industry that women of color can lean on our courageous and compassionate white sisters to flow us their support and power to create more equality in this area as we move forward."

"One woman is every woman," she added.

Chastain responded to the Twitter thread, echoing Pinkett Smith's thoughts. "Yes everyone suffers in a broken system," she wrote. "We stand together."