Hilary Swank — best known for her Oscar-winning role in Million Dollar Baby — knows that, while the gender pay gap may be starting to dwindle, it is still a very real thing. That’s because she’s felt the effects of it herself.
According to Indiewire, the actress sat down with Chelsea Handler, Connie Britton and Ava DuVernay on Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea, on Wednesday, Oct. 19 for a “women’s dinner party” to “chat about, amongst other things, what it’s like to be a woman in the entertainment world.”
That’s when Swank spilled the beans about how she’d been affected by the pay disparity throughout her career, mentioning that for her first Oscar-winning role in Indie film Boys Don’t Cry, she only earned $3,000, says Indiewire. But after winning her second Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, Indiewire reports she was “offered the leading female role in a film opposite a popular male actor who hadn’t had much in the way of critical success … but who was still slated to receive a paycheck twenty times fatter than Swank’s.”
The male actor, says Indiewire, would have made $10 million, while Swank would have earned a mere $500,000 had she accepted the role — which prompted Britton to gasp while giving voice to what all viewers must have been thinking in that moment: “What are you talking about?”
To hear Swank tell the story in her own words, click here.