On Sunday, Michelle Williams won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie—and gave everyone a necessary reminder that the wage gap still exists between men and women in Hollywood.
Williams, who was honored for her work as Gwen Verdon in the FX series Fosse/Verdon, used her acceptance speech to address the disparity between what male and female actors earn. However, she also provided some optimism and talked about how when women speak about these issues and are heard, everyone wins because the chance for success increases.
"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
“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. “Thank you so much to FX and Fox 21 studios for supporting me and 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 then where do they put that value, they put into their work.”
“So, the next time a woman―and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make fifty-two 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.”
Folks applauded Williams’s sentiments, especially her best friend Busy Phillips, who was in tears.
— Jackson McHenry (@McHenryJD) September 23, 2019
Williams and Phillips, who have been best friends since the two met on the Dawson’s Creek set, attended the Emmy’s together. They have also been each other’s dates to other awards shows including the 2017 Golden Globes and the 2017 Oscars.
Very very little in this world brings me more joy (truly) than the friendship between Michelle Williams and Busy Phillips. (And that was one hell of an acceptance speech.)
— Daniel Summers (@WFKARS) September 23, 2019
find someone who looks at you the way busy phillips looks at michelle williams
— alex (@alex_abads) September 23, 2019
“I’ve been so happy to be by her side for all of it and especially for this year with this Emmy nomination for Fosse/Verdon, I’m incredibly proud of the work that she did in this project. I’m hoping that she gets an Emmy. I just think her performance is so beautiful,” Phillips said.
Williams made headlines last year when she spoke up about being paid less than 1 percent of what co-star Mark Wahlberg made when they had to reshoot All the Money in the World.
Williams dedicated her Emmy award to her 13-year-old daughter, Matilda.