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Ava DuVernay and Hilary Swank Discuss Hollywood’s Pay Gap

Oct. 19, 2016

Swank was famously paid only $3,000 for her Oscar-winning role in 'Boys Don’t Cry'

Wednesday’s episode of Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show, Chelsea, features a star-studded dinner party where Handler sits down with Ava DuVernay and Hilary Swank, among other notable women. In a clip provided by CNN, they dive into the massive pay gap in Hollywood, revealing personal experiences with inequality.

DuVernay begins by talking about Selma, which she says was a “big jump” for her because of how high the film’s budget was. “I was the seventh director they asked. All the men before me said no,” she said. She went to tell a fellow director about her news, and he admitted that he was also given a high-budget film—Jurassic World.

Hilary Swank was also candid about her salary struggles. “When I did Boys Don’t Cry, I was 24 years old, I made $3,000. In order to have health insurance, you have to make $5,000,” she told the table. “I had an Academy Award, no health insurance.”

“A couple movies later, I get offered a movie, but the male hadn’t had any kind of critical success,” she said. “He had been in a movie where he was ‘hot.’ And he got offered $10 million, and I got offered $500,000.”

The table of women were in awe: “This was after two Academy Awards,” Handler clarifies. “Yes. So, I said no, and then they went and found a newcomer who did it for $50,000,” Swank says. “So they made a savings of $450,000 to put, you know… Probably to give the guy his bonuses.”

Handler’s dinner party isn’t the first time famous women have come together to express their frustration with unequal pay and the gender pay gap, which affects women outside of Hollywood too. On Equal Pay Day in April, stars like Patricia Arquette, Connie Britton and Hope Solo spoke out about pay. Kristen Bell, Jennifer Lawrence and Evan Rachel Wood have also been candid about sexism on set and their smaller paychecks compared to male stars.

[h/t CNN]