Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England.
Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England.  Mike Marsland—Mike Marsland/WireImage

The Most Powerful Celebrity Quotes on Equal Pay

May 18, 2016

Robin Wright’s speech Tuesday at a Rockefeller Foundation event, in which she revealed that she demanded to be paid as much as Kevin Spacey, is just the latest example of stars speaking out on pay equality.

As two federal government agencies conduct an investigation looking into discrimination against female directors in Hollywood, Motto takes a look back at some of the key times stars have chosen to speak out about pay equality in the industry and in the world at large.

Actress Kerry Washington attends the 47th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California.
Actress Kerry Washington attends the 47th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California.Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

September 2012, Kerry Washington, Democratic National Convention

"Today there are people trying take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: Our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can't let that happen."

Entertainer Beyonce performs onstage during "The Formation World Tour" at the Rose Bowl on May 14, 2016 in Pasadena, California.
Entertainer Beyonce performs onstage during "The Formation World Tour" at the Rose Bowl on May 14, 2016 in Pasadena, California. Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty Images

January 2014, Beyoncé, The Shriver Report

“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn't a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77% of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”

Emma Watson participates in the panel discussion. On International Women's Day, NYC First Lady Chirlaine McCray, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Actress and HeForShe advocate Emma Watson and Actor Forest Whitaker participated in a press briefing at Joe's Pub in the East Village of Manhattan for the launch of HeForShe Art Week (March 8-15).
Emma Watson participates in the panel discussion. On International Women's Day, NYC First Lady Chirlaine McCray, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Actress and HeForShe advocate Emma Watson and Actor Forest Whitaker participated in a press briefing at Joe's Pub in the East Village of Manhattan for the launch of HeForShe Art Week (March 8-15). Pacific Press—LightRocket/Getty Images

September 2014, Emma Watson, HeForShe campaign event

"The reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work."

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Actress Patricia Arquette winner for Best Supporting Actress in "Boyhood" poses inside the press room of the 87th Annual Academy Awards held at Loews Hollywood Hotel on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Patricia Arquette winner for Best Supporting Actress in "Boyhood" poses inside the press room of the 87th Annual Academy Awards held at Loews Hollywood Hotel on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)Albert L. Ortega—Getty Images

February 2015, Patricia Arquette, Oscars

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s high time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

(In April, at a panel sponsored by the Tribeca Film Festival, Arquette said she lost roles because of what she said about equal pay in her Oscars speech.)

Read more: So You’re Making Less Than a Man—Now What?

Actress Judy Greer attends the exclusive gala event “For the Love of Cinema” during the Tribeca Film Festival hosted by luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen on April 14, 2016 in New York City.
Actress Judy Greer attends the exclusive gala event “For the Love of Cinema” during the Tribeca Film Festival hosted by luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen on April 14, 2016 in New York City.Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images for IWC

May 2015, Judy Greer, Glamour

“In the past few months, I’ve become convinced of one thing: If I were a man, I’d be paid more. I realize that some people may not sympathize with an actress who gets to be in movies and on TV for a living. But if you take away names and vocations, the fact is that in 2015 a man is still getting paid more money to do the same job a woman does, in Hollywood and everywhere else. And no matter where you live or what you do, that’s bullsh-t.”

Actress Charlize Theron speaks onstage during the 2016 Will Rogers “Pioneer of the Year” Dinner Honoring Donna Langley at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Actress Charlize Theron speaks onstage during the 2016 Will Rogers “Pioneer of the Year” Dinner Honoring Donna Langley at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Todd Williamson—Getty Images for CinemaCon

June 2015, Charlize Theron, Elle U.K.

“I have to give them credit because once I asked [to make the same as men were making to work on the Snow White And The Huntsman sequel], they said yes. They did not fight it. And maybe that’s the message: That we just need to put our foot down. This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.”

Read more: How Much Would You Make if You Were a Man?

Meryl Streep arrives for the UK film premiere of "Florence Foster Jenkins" at Odeon Leicester Square on April 12, 2016 in London, England.
Meryl Streep arrives for the UK film premiere of "Florence Foster Jenkins" at Odeon Leicester Square on April 12, 2016 in London, England. Karwai Tang—WireImage/Getty Images

June 2015, Meryl Streep, letters to Congress

“I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality—for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself—by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment,” Streep wrote in her letters to U.S. Congressmen.

Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England.
Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England. Mike Marsland—Mike Marsland/WireImage

October 2015, Jennifer Lawrence, Lenny Letter

“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with d-cks, I didn't get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn't want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don't need. (I told you it wasn't relatable, don't hate me).

But if I'm honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn't say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn't want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn't worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’

This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I'm sure it's both. But this is an element of my personality that I've been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don't think I'm the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way?”

Rosario Dawson attends the "Daredevil" Season 2 Premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater on March 10, 2016 in New York City.
Rosario Dawson attends the "Daredevil" Season 2 Premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater on March 10, 2016 in New York City. Donna Ward—Getty Images

November 2015, Rosario Dawson, MTV News

“If it was just women getting paid less than men then that would just be one thing, but even among women, especially according to race and privilege, there are a lot of women who are getting paid more than even some men are. It's a very complex situation when you think about what are black women making in comparison to white women, what are Latin women making, what are Asian women making in comparison, and it gets even more convoluted.”

Actress Sandra Bullock arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Our Brand Is Crisis' at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 26, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Actress Sandra Bullock arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Our Brand Is Crisis' at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 26, 2015 in Hollywood, California.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin—FilmMagic/Getty Images

November 2015, Sandra Bullock, Variety

“It’s a bigger issue than money. I know we’re focused on the money part right now. That’s just a byproduct. I keep saying, ‘Why is it that no one is standing up and saying you can’t say that about a woman?’ We’re mocked and judged in the media and articles.

Really, how men are described in articles versus women, there’s a big difference. I always make a joke: ‘Watch, we’re going to walk down the red carpet, I’m going to be asked about my dress and my hair while the man standing next to me will be asked about his performance and political issues.’

Once we start shifting how we perceive women and stop thinking about them as ‘less than,’ the pay disparity will take care of itself. There’s a much bigger issue at hand. I’m glad Hollywood got caught.”

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Essence 9th Annual Black Women In Hollywood - Arrivals
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Actor/comedian Chris Rock attends the Essence 9th annual Black Women In Hollywood event at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 25, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/WireImage)Jason LaVeris—WireImage/Getty Images

January 2016, Chris Rock, The New Yorker

“Black women have the hardest gig in show business. You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman—if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.”

Actress Viola Davis attends the 47th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California.
Actress Viola Davis attends the 47th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California. Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic/Getty Images

February 2016, Viola Davis, Mashable

“I have to be honest with you. I believe in equal pay, first of all. I’m sorry, if a woman does the same job as a man, she should be paid the same amount of money. She just should. That’s just the way the world should work.”

Carli Lloyd poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot at Quixote Studios on November 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Carli Lloyd poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot at Quixote Studios on November 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.Harry How—Getty Images

March 2016, Carli Lloyd, The New York Times

“When I joined four teammates in filing a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer late last month, it had nothing to do with how much I love to play for my country. It had everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair and with upholding a fundamental American concept: Equal pay for equal play.”

Actress Robin Wright speaks at the 2015 MORE Impact Awards Luncheon at The Newseum on June 29, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Actress Robin Wright speaks at the 2015 MORE Impact Awards Luncheon at The Newseum on June 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. Larry French—Getty Images

May 2016, Robin Wright, Rockefeller Foundation event

“There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in House of Cards. … I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.”

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