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‘I Want The Same Respect and Pay That They’re Offering My White Counterparts’: Octavia Spencer Says She’s Still Not Being Offered What She’s Worth After Fighting for Pay In the Past

Octavia Spencer is speaking out about the pay disparity in Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Spencer is currently starring in the Apple TV+ television series “Truth Be Told.”

The Oscar-winning actress spoke to the outlet days after she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and noted how grateful she was to be working as an actress in the entertainment industry.

Octavia Spencer to Deliver Speech at Kent State's 1st University-Wide Commencement
FILE – In this Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, file photo, Octavia Spencer arrives at the Oscars on at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Kent State University’s first universitywide commencement May 13 will get a touch of Hollywood as Spencer speaks to graduates of the northeastern Ohio school. Spencer recently starred as mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in the drama “Hidden Figures.” (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

“This is not something to be taken for granted,” she said. “There are things that you dream for yourself and things that you can’t even imagine.”

Spencer won an Academy Award in 2011 for her role in the film “The Help.” However, she noted there is still a disparity in pay when it comes to Black actresses versus white actors in the industry.

“I’m an egalitarian. Period. Women and women of color have always lagged. When they start casting movies, they put all the money on the white male or Black male leads,” she said. “They come to you when they’ve given out all the dollars and they only have cents. I don’t need you to tell me how much you love me and how much you want to work with me. That’s not going to put my nieces and nephews through Harvard. Love is not going to take care of my godkids. So, I’ve always been a proponent of making sure that there’s equal pay. It’s still not equal, but it’s certainly getting better.”

Spencer and actress Jessica Chastain made headlines in 2018 when the women received five times their initial salary after Chastain tied Spencer’s pay to her own deal for an untitled holiday project the women were working on. Spencer praised Chastain for being a true advocate but noted there is still a disparity in the pay scale.

When asked what advice she’d give other actors in negotiating pay, she said to always get more than the initial offer.

“You should always get more money than they’re offering you,” she replied. “I always get a raise. So, start there. It’s not about turning down work, it’s about understanding your value. How many more years am I going to be running around on sets? I want the same respect and pay that they’re offering my white counterparts.”

The third season of Spencer’s show on Apple TV+ begins streaming on Jan. 20 with guest star Gabrielle Union. In addition to starring in the show, Spencer is also a producer who has developed several other projects with her production company, Orit Entertainment, including a buddy cop movie with actress Taraji P. Henson.

Apple TV+ shared a preview of “Truth Be Told” on Twitter with the caption, “Gabrielle Union joins Octavia Spencer who stars as a podcaster who risks everything to pursue justice. Watch Season 3 of #TruthBeTold, streaming January 20 on Apple TV+.”

The third season of “Truth Be Told” begins streaming on Jan. 20.

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