Octavia Spencer: LeBron James Helped Me Negotiate Equal Pay on Netflix Series

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2019

Actress Octavia Spencer poses at the premiere of
Arthur Mola/Associated Press

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer says Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James helped her receive equal pay during their work together on a Netflix series about African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.

Speaking at a panel at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Spencer said James stepped in to ensure she received a fair deal compared to male cast members in Madam C.J. Walker (h/t TMZ Sports).

"I have to say, when I was negotiating my deal for Madam C.J., LeBron James had to intervene," Spencer said.

She added: "We need all our male counterparts to be in the fight with us."

In September, James spoke with Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter about the challenges women face, especially African American women, to achieve equality in high-profile positions. He used the backlash Serena Williams faced at last year's U.S. Open tennis tournament as an example.

"What we all have to understand is what she is fighting for is bigger than just that match," he said. "She is fighting for equality—always having to win more, more, more, just to feel equal. Being an African American woman playing in a predominantly white sport, she's dealing with so much more. I have no idea what was going on in her head, but I feel that struggle."

James' Hollywood footprint has grown considerably since he signed with the Lakers in July, and his efforts to help Spencer showcase much-needed teamwork in the ongoing fight for equal pay.

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