On Netflix’s The Crown, the queen reigns supreme — unless you’re talking about salary. The revelation that Golden Globe-winning actress Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth II) made less than her onscreen husband, Matt Smith (Prince Philip), sparked controversy last week, and now the production company behind one of TV’s most expensive shows is apologizing to its stars.
“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,” said Left Bank 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.”
The producers’ statement continued: “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.”
Left Bank also clarified that it is revaluating 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,” said the company. “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; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”
Producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries confirmed the pay gap at a conference in Jerusalem, with Mackie saying Smith made more due to his visibility from Doctor Who. “Going forward,” she said, “no one gets paid more than the queen.”
In response to the revelation, more than 25,000 people signed a petition urging Smith to donate part of his salary to the Time’s Up movement.
The Crown‘s cast, including Foy and Smith, has been replaced for seasons 3 and 4 — a move the show made for creative reasons long before the pay controversy.