Last week it was revealed that Claire Foy, the main crown-wearer in the titular The Crown, took home less money than her co-star Matt Smith. Obviously Claire’s character Queen Elizabeth II is the main character, and it’s insane that she would have a smaller paycheck than Matt’s Prince Philip. Variety says that producers of The Crown are really sorry that happened.
The production company behind Netflix’s The Crown, Left Bank Pictures, issued a statement apologizing to Claire and Matt for getting dragged into this story:
“We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center 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; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.”
Both Claire and Matt are both done on The Crown. Olivia Colman will be replacing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II. Season 3 and 4’s Prince Philip could be played by Hugh Laurie. Left Bank has previously said: “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
Despite Left Bank’s admissions, fans have demanded justice. The Guardian notes that there’s a petition putting pressure on Matt Smith and Netflix to donate to the Time’s Up legal fund. Specifically, the petition asks for the difference in Matt and Claire’s salaries. In response to this, Left Bank has said they would like to speak to Time’s Up UK, and added that they’re currently speaking with gender equality advocacy group ERA 50:50. So far the petition has received 26,208 signatures on its 30,000 goal. Neither Netflix nor Matt Smith have responded to the petition.
As for Left’s Bank’s explanation, I would have accepted a simple: “Claire spent 20 episodes in an obscene about of hair spray and ugly pantyhose, and for that she is truly owed the biggest paycheck, were sorry.” But that explanation works too.