Chelsea Handler's latest dinner party takes on equal pay in Hollywood

Story highlights

  • Chelsea Handler gathers a group of famous female friends together for a special dinner party on her show 'Chelsea'
  • In the episode, Hillary Swank opens up about her first-hand experiences with pay inequity in Hollywood

(CNN)Chelsea Handler is throwing another dinner party on Netflix, but at this table, the main course is female empowerment.

On Wednesday's episode of "Chelsea," the host invites director Ava DuVernay, actresses Hilary Swank and Connie Britton and Miss USA Deshauna Barber for an all-female dinner party in which participants get candid about what they've faced as women in the entertainment industry.
    Swank, in particular, shares an unforgettable story about pay inequity in Hollywood.
    The "Million Dollar Baby" star explains that she was paid a mere $3,000 for her work in 1999's "Boys Don't Cry," a movie that would win her an Oscar. But because her pay for the movie was so low, she did not meet the minimum amount required to qualify for health insurance.
    "I had an Academy Award, no health insurance," she said in a clip, provided to CNN.
    Swank's experience with lack of equal pay didn't end there. Several movies later, after she won her second Oscar, she was up for a movie opposite a less acclaimed male lead who was offered $10 million.
    "[He] had been in a movie where he was 'hot' ... and I got offered $500,000," she said.
    Her story shocked the table.
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    DuVernay, too, shared a story that illustrates the different opportunities offered to men and women directors.
    After booking "Selma" -- a gig she got after six men turned it down -- DuVernay remembers riding high because her last film had a $200,000 budget and she was now on tap to head a $20 million film. She then ran into a friend and fellow up-and-coming director, who also bragged about his own jump into a big-budget film.
    "I said, 'What's your film?' and he said, 'Um, Jurassic World,'" DuVernay remembered.
    The episode also features appearances from Jason Biggs, who explores the world of stay-at-home dads, and activist Gloria Steinem, who provides short lessons on women from history.
    It will be available to stream on Netflix starting Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. PT.