As the fight to close the gender wage gap continues, one of the most important ways to advocate for pay parity is for those in positions of privilege to stand up for others. In Hollywood, this means that some actors and actresses have demanded equal pay for their costars as a term of their contact. And in an instance of male allyship, NBA star LeBron James stepped in to make sure that Octavia Spencer was paid fairly for the new Netflix show Madam C.J. Walker.
According to IndieWire, Spencer discussed her ongoing fight for equal pay at a January 26th Sundance Film Festival panel. The Academy Award-winning actress revealed that during the negotiation process for the new show, in which Spencer plays the first self-made black millionaire, James, who executive-produced the show, “had to intervene” to make sure she received the same pay as her male costars.
This isn’t the first time that Spencer has opened up about the allies who have helped her secure pay parity. At the same Sundance panel in 2018, she announced that Jessica Chastain, who co-starred with her in The Help, had demanded that they receive the same amount of money for their roles. At the 2019 panel, the Shape of Water actress again spoke about Chastain’s support for her, while stressing how important it is for coworkers to lift each other up.
Watch the full panel below:
It’s beyond frustrating that actresses as talented and accomplished as Spencer still need to rely on outside intervention to get the pay they deserve, but it serves as a critical reminder that allyship is both critical and necessary in today’s climate.