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Michelle Williams Gave An Impassioned Acceptance Speech About Equal Pay At The 2019 Emmys

Almost two years ago, it was revealed that on the drama-thriller All the Money in the World, Michelle Williams was paid a whopping 1500 times less than her co-star, Mark Wahlberg, despite him having less screentime than he did. Cut to Sunday night, and the actress delivered an impassioned acceptance speech about pay inequality.

Granted, Williams never mentioned Wahlberg, nor made any specific references to the All the Money mishegoss. But the subtext was deafening. She won for the FX limited series Fosse/Verdon, in which she played legendary dancer Gwen Verdon opposite Sam Rockwell’s also legendary choreographer, producer and film director Bob Fosse. The show was about a strong women fighting to get outside of the shadow of a tyrannical man, and she had nothing but glowing things to say about making it.

“My bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon,” Williams said, seeming to reference any number of past jobs on her lengthy CV.

But she was only getting started. She talked of how the makers of Fosse/Verdon, including FX and Fox, never second-guessed her, always gave her what she said she needed, from more dance lessons to better fake teeth.

“All of these things, they require effort, and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to never better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon,” she said. She then thanked for “paying me equally,” 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 where do they put that inherent value? They put it into their work.”

She continued: “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. Because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment, not in spite of it.”

Williams’ speech was the most fiery, not to mention the most memorable, of the evening, at least up to that point. It earned a standing ovation from her colleagues and peers at the show and from people on Twitter.

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