Michelle Williams advocates for equal pay in powerful Emmys acceptance speech

"When you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And then where do they put that value? They put it into their work."

Michelle Williams accepts the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie award for 'Fosse/Verdon' onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Michelle Williams accepts the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie award for 'Fosse/Verdon' onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. –Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Michelle Williams (“Manchester by the Sea”) won the award for lead actress in a limited series or movie for her role as Gwen Verdon’s on FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” at Sunday’s 2019 Emmys, she used her acceptance speech to discuss an issue close to her heart: Equal pay.

Williams — who briefly became the poster child for gender pay discrepancies in Hollywood when she was paid less than $1,000 to film reshoots for “All the Money in the World” while Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for a smaller role — said that her win was thanks in part to receiving equal pay as “Fosse/Verdon” co-star Sam Rockwell, who played Bob Fosse.

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“I want to say thank you so much to FX and to Fox 21 Studios for supporting me completely and paying me equally,” Williams said. “Because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And then where do they put that value? They put it into their work.

“And so the 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,” Williams continued. “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.”