Michelle Williams on #MeToo and Time’s Up: ‘I went from feeling very helpless, and now I feel helpful’

The Oscar-nominated actor has described the growth of the #MeToo movement as 'heartening and rewarding'

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Tuesday 05 February 2019 12:00
Michelle Williams jokes she didn't know much about Venom

Michelle Williams has explained how the progression of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements has impacted her career and life, describing the change as “rewarding”.

The Oscar-nominated actor recently made headlines when it was revealed she’d received a fraction of the salary of her co-star, Mark Wahlberg, when the pair re-filmed parts of 2017 drama All The Money In The World.

Following on from the controversy, Wahlberg announced that he was going to donate his $1.5m (£1.1m) salary to Time’s Up, an organisation that supports individuals who’ve experienced sexual assault, harassment or abuse in the workplace.

Having originally been founded by activist Tarana Burke in 2006, the #MeToo movement has grown exponentially in the past couple of years, largely due to a 2017 social media campaign, which was instigated in response to the sexual assault allegations made against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Weinstein denies all claims of non-consensual sex and has described many allegations against him as “false”.

In Williams’ opinion, the increased focus on the #MeToo initiative has provided more women with an opportunity to have their voices heard.

“It’s been really heartening and rewarding for me to hear from other women; how they heard what I went through and how it gives them an example [of how] to ask for reparation, and to be able to institute that tiny little model in other scenarios,” Williams tells Elle UK.

“That has been really one of the most rewarding things not just of my career, but of my life.”

Mariana Maltoni

When it was revealed that Williams had earned less than $1,000 (£728) for re-filming scenes in All The Money In The World, the pay disparity between the actor and Wahlberg sparked an uproar.

The attention their inequal salaries received in the media demonstrated to Williams how essential it is to address inequality in the workplace.

Mariana Maltoni

“I went from feeling very helpless, and now I feel helpful,” the actor says.

The My Week with Marilyn star stresses the importance of ensuring any workplace is “safe and fair”, and an environment where people can “make choices not from a place of fear”.

Mariana Maltoni

In recent years, Williams has experienced what she describes as a “redefinition of power”, as she’d never previously been able to identify with the notion of being powerful.

“Power was never something I wanted in the way I had seen it represented. So I think a kind of redefinition of power, what that might mean personally for me, has taken place,” the actor states.

“I guess I could call it power, or just the ability to support my family in a meaningful way.”

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Williams appears on the cover of Elle UK’s March 2019 issue, alongside artistic director Nicolas Ghesquiere.

The March issue of Elle UK is on sale from 7 February.

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