Viola Davis Once Said She Earns ‘Probably a Tenth’ of Her White Women Co-Stars

The Hollywood pay gap is a topic that has gained ground in recent years. Many stars have spoken out about the pay disparity in the industry, but veteran actor Viola Davis highlighted another form of the much-talked-about wage gap, saying that women of color earn even less in the industry. Davis once said she earns “probably a tenth” of her White women co-stars.

Viola Davis has a highly decorated career

Davis’s career began in 1999, seven years after her graduation from Julliard school. The star won her first accolade for starring in Everybody’s Ruby. After that, Davis appeared in small roles across TV and film, but her first major recognition came when she starred in the Broadway production of King Hedley II in 2001.

Her performance bagged her a Tony Award, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Davis would start getting noticed for her incredible talent. That year, Davis appeared in Doubt alongside Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in a role Oprah said she wanted but was turned down for.

The role earned Davis her first Oscar nomination even though she had less than 11 minutes of screen time. Great success came to the star in the 2010s when she won another Tony for her role in the Broadway revival of Fences.

In 2011, Davis won even more recognition for her role in The Help receiving another Oscar nod and a Screen Actors Guild Award. From 2014 to 2016, Davis played the lead role in the legal drama How to Get Away with Murder. Her role in the series made her the first Black female actor to take home the Primetime Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress in A Drama Series category.

Davis later became the only Black actor to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting after winning an Oscar for her role in the film adaptation of Fences. The star has since appeared in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Suicide Squad, and The First Lady.

Viola Davis wants Hollywood to pay her what she’s worth

Davis is one of the most decorated and talented stars of today. However, she doesn’t get as much recognition for her expertise as she should. Davis spoke to Tina Brown of Women in the World in 2018 about her role in popular culture.

During the conversation, Davis took time to highlight her career and the compensation she’s gotten over the years. The actor slammed the pay gap in Hollywood but detailed that women of color get even less money.

She said, “What they’re getting paid, which is half of what a man is getting paid, well we get probably a tenth of what a Caucasian woman gets. And I’m number one on the call sheet.” Davis said she had a comparable career with some other Hollywood legends naming Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Sigourney Weaver.

The actor slammed the pay gap, saying despite how similar her career is to the other female greats, they eclipse her significantly in terms of money and job opportunities. Davis challenged those who call her “the Black Meryl Streep,” saying, “Ok then, if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth.”

What is Viola Davis’s net worth?

viola davis
Viola Davis | Mike Smith/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Missing just a Grammy in order to achieve EGOT status, Davis hasn’t been compensated as well as she should have. Still, she’s garnered an impressive net worth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Davis is worth $25 million. The amount is considerably low for an actor with such talent, acclaim, and versatility.

For her role as Annalise Keating in HTGAWM, Davis received $250,000 per episode. Since the show only had 15 episodes per season, it meant that Davis was taking home $3.75 million every year. Davis is also a producer and author and became a L’Oréal Paris ambassador in 2019.

RELATED: ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and Viola Davis’ Other Oscar Nominations