'The Crown' production company apologizes to Claire Foy, Matt Smith over pay controversy

UPDATE: Producers of the Netflix drama The Crown have apologized to actors Claire Foy and Matt Smith over the revelation that Foy was paid less than her male co-star.

A producer disclosed last week that Foy, who starred as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, was paid less than Smith, who played Prince Philip.

Since the news broke, a petition has urged Smith to donate part of his salary to the Time’s Up campaign.

Left Bank Pictures said Tuesday that the actors “are not aware of who gets what and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.”

The production company apologized that Foy and Smith “have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own.”

The statement continued: “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.”

The company said it was reevaluating its approach to the gender pay gap. “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.”

Left Bank Pictures also said that they “are now going to be in talks with the TimesUp UK campaign and ERA 50:50; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

Days after news broke that The Crown actress Claire Foy was paid less than Matt Smith, a petition is calling on the actor to donate the extra salary he received from the Netflix show to the sexual misconduct defence initiative Time’s Up, which helps survivors of sexual harassment and abuse.

The petition urges Netflix and Smith to make up for the “sexist pay gap,” and has already nearly reached its goal of 25,000 signatures.

The Care2Petition also urges Netflix and Smith to “show that they stand with women and do the right thing.”

READ MORE: Netflix paid ‘The Crown’s Queen Elizabeth, Claire Foy, less than costar Matt Smith

“Women in all industries are facing a struggle for pay equality,” the organizer of the petition, listed as Rebecca G, wrote in the description. “Women in the US typically earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts for full-time work. And the pay gap for women of colour is even more striking. Black women typically only make 63 cents for every dollar paid to their white male counterparts and Latina women only make 54 cents on average.”

“While it may be easy for some to dismiss gender pay disparity for already high-paid actors like Claire Foy, I believe that publicly addressing high-profile cases of sexism will also help create greater opportunities for all women — in all careers,” the petition reads.

Despite the fact that Foy played Queen Elizabeth, the very subject of Netflix series The Crown, she still earned less per episode than her counterpart, Smith, who played the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.

The Crown executive producer Andy Harries, creative director Suzanne Mackie and production designer Martin Childs were speaking at a panel about the series at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem last Tuesday when the topic of pay was raised.

“The producers acknowledged that did make more due to his Doctor Who fame, but that they would rectify that for the future,” wrote Variety reporter Debra Birnbaum in her conference coverage.

After the admission, Mackie added, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”

READ MORE: Mark Wahlberg reportedly made $1.5M for ‘All the Money’ reshoot, Michelle Williams — less than $1K

The petition comes two months after a similar petition urged Mark Wahlberg to donate the US$1.5 million more that he made during the reshoots for All the Money in the World after news broke that his co-star Michelle Williams, received only US$1,000 for the same work.

Wahlberg agreed to donate the US$1.5 million he made for the reshoots to the sexual misconduct defence initiative and said he would make the donation in Williams’ name.

The agency William Morris Endeavor represents both actors and said it will donate an additional US$500,000, also in Williams’ name.

As of this writing, Smith and Netflix have not commented on the petition.

—With files from Chris Jancelewicz and the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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