Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown Season 1, Netflix. Picture: Robert Viglasky/Netflix
Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown Season 1, Netflix. Picture: Robert Viglasky/Netflix

Crown star’s shock wages admission

NETFLIX'S hit historical drama The Crown was at the centre of a discussion about the gender pay gap between its two leads earlier this year.

Fans of the show were shocked to discover that actor Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth in the series, was paid less than co-star Matt Smith, who played Prince Phillip.

Once the pay disparity emerged, the show's producers scrambled to do right by their lead actor, publicly vowing that their two leads would be paid the same amount going forward.

The actor originally earned a reported $38,200 per episode for her 20-episode run, and while Smith's salary has never been revealed, the Daily Mail reported that Foy was later given $363,500 to close the gap between herself and Smith.

Now, Foy herself says reports of that "back pay" were incorrect."

 

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth I and Matt Smith as Prince Philip. Picture: Netflix.
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth I and Matt Smith as Prince Philip. Picture: Netflix.

"That was what was reported, that I was back-paid. I've never mentioned anything about it and neither have the producers. The fact that that is 'fact' is - not quite correct," she said in a new interview with Al Arabiya.

"Yes, it's Netflix, but it's a British production company. It happened at the same time as it was coming out with a lot of other people that there was a lot of pay inequality across the board - in the music industry, in journalism, in every industry.

"It's across the board that it became part of a bigger conversation, which is an odd place to find yourself in."

The shocking revelation about Foy and co-star Matt Smith's salaries was originally made by producer Suzanne Mackie during a panel discussion as reported by Variety.

Mackie and her fellow producers acknowledged that Smith did earn more for The Crown due to his Doctor Who fame, but vowed that future seasons of the show would see that pay gap closed.

"Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," said Mackie.

Producers at Left Bank Pictures, who make the show which reportedly cost $178 million, took responsibility and apologised for the pay disparity in March.

In a statement, they said: "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.

"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.

Foy says reports she received back pay were in fact false. Picture: Netflix via AP
Foy says reports she received back pay were in fact false. Picture: Netflix via AP

 

"The actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues."

The news that Foy was paid less than Smith for her starring role came amid an ongoing discussion about Hollywood's gender pay disparity.

It was revealed in January that Oscar-nominated actor Michelle Williams accepted just $80 per day for reshoots of the Ridley Scott film All The Money In The World, while co-star Mark Wahlberg commanded close to a $2 million fee.

Former E! News anchor Catt Sadler quit her job late last year, after finding out her male co-host was paid nearly twice as much money as her.

"How can I operate with integrity and stay on at E! if they're not willing to pay me the same as him?" Sadler said in a statement, referring to her Daily Pop co-host Jason Kennedy, 36.

Closer to home, former Today host Lisa Wilkinson quit the Nine Network and took up new employment with rival Ten after her demands for a pay rise that would see her earn the same or more than co-host Karl Stefanovic were reportedly refused.



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