Netflix series ‘The Crown’ producers apologise over gender pay scandal
The producers of Netflix series “The Crown” have issued a statement about the revelation that Claire Foy was paid less than co-star Matt Smith.
“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,” said Left Bank pictures.
It added: “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.”
The pay scandal erupted last week at the INTV conference in Israel where Left Bank revealed that Smith, who plays Prince Philip, was paid more than Foy, who stars as Queen Elizabeth II.
The UK-based producer, which is backed by Sony Pictures Television, said it was keen to talk with the British Time’s Up campaign and is already speaking to Era 50:50, a group campaigning for gender equality on screen and stage.
Left Bank said it stands behind the drive for equality in film and TV.
“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,” it said.
Neither Foy or Smith, or Netflix, have commented on the pay story. A petition was started this week calling for Smith to donate some of his pay to Time’s Up.
Netflix has already produced two seasons of the lavish series and has ordered a further two. The producers have committed to pay parity for the upcoming runs, which will see a full new cast to reflect the ageing of the characters.
Olivia Colman will play the British monarch on the next two seasons and Helena Bonham Carter Princess Margaret, while other key casting decisions are still to be made.
“The Crown” is one of the most expensive television shows ever produced, costing a reported $130 million for the first season.
The ongoing disparity between men and women is reflected in annual lists published by Forbes magazine. In 2017, Emma Stone topped the best-paid actress list with $26 million, while Mark Wahlberg was the highest paid man with $68 million in estimated annual earnings.
Wahlberg made news earlier this year when it was revealed that he was paid $1.5 million for reshoots on movie “All the Money in the World” while co-star Michelle Williams got $1,000. Wahlberg later donated his salary to Time’s Up, the campaign against workplace sexual misconduct.