‘Claire is one of my best friends - I support her completely’
Netflix fans were shocked last month, as once again we were reminded that the gender pay gap is alive and well in the entertainment industry, with the latest show to be called out being the nation’s favourite, The Crown.
After two seasons of the show, it was revealed that its leading actress Claire Foy, who played the Queen, was paid less than her male co-star Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip.
In other words, the leading actress was paid less than her onscreen husband – who featured far less in the programme.
Unsurprisingly, the news of The Crown’s gender pay gap hasn’t gone done well, with Claire Foy and the producers all releasing statements on the matter in recent months, and changes made to amend the gender pay gap in future seasons.
It was Matt Smith who made headlines about the issue this weekend however, opening up about it for the first time, and using it as a catalyst to call for change in all industries.
‘Claire is one of my best friends,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter at the world premiere of his new film, Mapplethorpe, at the Tribeca Film Festival. ‘And I believe that we should be paid equally and fairly and there should be equality for all.’
He continued: ‘I support her completely, and I’m pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that what’s needed to happen. Going forward, I think we should all bear in mind that we need to strive to make this better and a more even playing field for everyone involved – but not just in our industry, in all industries.’
Matt Smith reportedly received some backlash for earning more than his female counterpart when the news originally broke, causing the producers to release a statement admitting fault.
‘As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries,’ the statement read. ‘The actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.’
Claire Foy has also opened up about the news in recent months, explaining to Entertainment Weekly, ‘I’m surprised because I’m at the centre of it, and anything that I’m at the centre of like that is very, very odd, and feels very, very out of ordinary, but I’m not surprised about the interest in the story in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I’m not surprised that people saw the story and went, “Oh that’s a bit odd.”’
The producers have admitted to paying Matt Smith more due to his Doctor Who fame, but have since promised that this is something they will rectify in the future, with one of the show’s producers Suzanne Mackie explaining, ‘Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.’
The statement continued: ‘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.’