Claire Foy and Matt Smith have addressed The Crown's shocking gender pay gap

Time to cut the BS. Help us call out workplace sexism and change the law

the crown season two review
(Image credit: Netflix)

Time to cut the BS. Help us call out workplace sexism and change the law

Netflix fans were shocked last week, 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 one of our favourites, The Crown.

It was revealed that the show’s leading actress Claire Foy, who played The Queen, was paid less than her male co-star Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip.

Yes, that’s correct. After completing two seasons of the show, the producers ‘realised’ that they ‘accidentally’ paid the leading actress less than her onscreen husband – who featured far less in the programme.

The news of The Crown’s gender pay gap unsurprisingly hasn’t gone done well, with Matt Smith reportedly receiving some backlash for earning more than his female counterpart, causing the producers to announce a statement.

‘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.’

Now that they are aware however, Claire Foy and Matt Smith don’t seem too impressed, with the 33-year-old actress opening up about the situation.

‘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,’ she explained to Entertainment Weekly. ‘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.”’

She continued: ‘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.’

The producers have admitted to paying Matt Smith more due to his Doctor Who fame, but promise 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.’

As part of Marie Claire’s 30th birthday year, we’re proud to announce our most important campaign to date #NotMyJob - and it's combatting this very issue.

Since our first issue went to press back in 1988, Marie Claire has been at the heart of the biggest global issues facing women of all backgrounds. But there is still so much more work to be done. If there is one thing that the past year has shown us it's that sexual harassment and discrimination are rife in every industry, from entertainment to politics. As a result, millions of women never fulfil their potential at work.

That’s why we’re calling on you to join us today to share your experiences of discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment at work. #NotMyJob is about saying it’s not any woman’s job to have to do the same work as a man and be paid less for it; that it’s not any woman’s job to flirt with the boss or worse to get ahead at work. And it’s not any woman’s job to face pregnancy discrimination or be penalised for choosing motherhood alongside her career.

So, starting this International Women’s Day and running throughout the year, in association with The Fawcett Society (the leading charity for women’s rights at work) we're working to protect our hard-won workplace rights in the face of Brexit. On top of this, we're fighting for long-term legislative change to safeguard our rights for future generations. To make your voice heard and change words in to action, sign the petition.

We’ve also partnered with legal firm Judge Sykes Frixou, to provide a hub on our website with legal resources and simple straightforward advice if you have been affected.

Please join us on Instagram and Twitter at @marieclaireuk where we've teamed up with illustrator Laura Quick to flip the finger at workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination. And call out your own examples of daily aggressions in the workplace, from being talked over in a meeting, to downright illegal discrimination, using the hashtag #NotMyJob.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.