Actor Claire Foy has responded to the media and public furore that followed executive producers on the hit Netflix show, The Crown admitting Foy had been paid less than co-star Matt Smith. As you may have guessed from the show title, Foy played royalty and not just any royalty but a young Queen Elizabeth II – the main character of the show – while Smith played her onscreen husband Prince Philip.
But since Smith had a rather lengthy stint as the much beloved Doctor Who, the producers ultimately decided to pay Smith more.
The news sparked outrage from the public with many signing a petition that demanded Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Smith to pay the difference to Time’s Up, the organisation and movement created to fight sexism and sexual assault in the film industry.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly over the weekend, Foy said she was “not surprised” by the media attention the story received especially since “The Crown was a “female-led drama”.
Although, Foy was startled to find herself as the centre of the story.
“I’m not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, ‘Oh, that’s a bit odd.’ But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the centre [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.”
In reply to the backlash the show received, executive producer Suzanne Mackie told Variety, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
However as season three of the show approaches, Foy will no longer be in the lead role as the plot jumps forward to the 1970s. Broadchurch actor, Olivia Colman will step into the role instead.
The Crown’s production company Left Bank later apologised officially to both Foy and Smith in a statement.
“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… 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.”
Foy also told EW that the controversy had not dimmed her excitement for The Crown season three.
“I can’t wait to see it. I think Olivia Colman’s amazing.”