"My bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon." #FosseVerdonFX star Michelle Williams thanks her studios during her acceptance speech for lead actress in a limited series https://t.co/WmT1Fmyol4 #Emmys pic.twitter.com/DDF1ONJV7Z— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 23, 2019
The 71st Annual Emmy Awards took place on Sunday night in Los Angeles honoring the best of television over the past year. In the category for best lead actress for a limited series of TV movie, Venom star Michelle Williams took home the award for her role as Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon and in her acceptance, speech highlighted the importance of equal pay. The moving, empowering speech is now earning Williams quite a bit of praise for addressing not just gender discrimination, but racial discrimination as well.
When accepting her award, Williams told the audience that her win felt like "an acknowledgment of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they'll be heard. When I asked for more dance classes I heard, 'Yes'; more voice lessons, 'Yes'; a different wig, a pair of fake teeth not made of rubber, 'Yes.' All of those things they require effort and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon."
She took her point a bit further when she thanked FX and Fox 21 Studios for paying her the same that her co-star Sam Rockwell was paid -- and encouraged Hollywood to continue to do so, especially for women of color.
"They understood that when you put value in a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value and where do they put that value? They put it into their work," she said.
"Next time a woman -- and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart -- tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her, because one day she might stand in front of you and say, 'Thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.'"
The subject of equal pay is a familiar one for Williams. Following the replacement of Kevin Spacey by Christopher Plummer on the film All the Money in the World it was revealed that Williams had not only been paid a fraction of what co-star Mark Wahlberg was, but that she had received dramatically less money than he did for reshoots on the film. Wahlberg ultimate announced that he would donate the $1.5 million he was paid for reshoots to the Time's Up movement in Williams' name.
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