The revelation that Claire Foy was paid less than her co-star Matt Smith in The Crown, even though she plays the Queen, was met with outrage last week – and now the production company behind the Netflix series has apologised for the actors’ pay inequality.
Left Bank Pictures took full responsibility for the salaries, explaining that the actors were unaware of how much individuals were paid and pledging to work towards fair pay.
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“We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own,” said the company in a statement on Tuesday.
“Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown, have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity.
“As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.”
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The statement continued, “We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias and for a rebalancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes.
“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate. So, we are now going to be in talks with the TimesUp UK campaign and ERA 50:50; organisations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”
The Crown producers Andy Harries and Suzanne Mackie had revealed the disparity at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem earlier this month, stating the difference was due to Smith’s previous high-profile role in Doctor Who.
“Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Mackie said.
At the time of writing, a petition urging Smith to donate part of his salary to the Time’s Up initiative has gathered more than 27,000 signatures.
Olivia Colman will be donning the crown for the third series on Netflix, but Smith’s replacement as Prince Philip is yet to be cast.