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Matt Smith Finally Speaks Out on The Crown Pay Disparity

No word on whether the actor will donate his pay difference to the Time's Up legal defense fund.

Matt Smith as Prince Phillip Netflix

Thanks to the Time’s Up movement, Hollywood’s gender pay gap is no longer a secret, and more stories are coming out. One egregious example came last month, when the producers of Netflix’s The Crown revealed that Claire Foy, who plays the title role of Queen Elizabeth II, was paid less than her co-star Matt Smith during the first and second season of the global hit. In fact, on a show reportedly budgeted at $7 million an episode, Claire Foy took home a comparably measly $40,000 per episode. That’s less than one percent of the budget allocated to the star.

In response, Left Bank Pictures (producers of The Crown) creative director and executive producer Suzanne Mackie said that, “going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. Left Bank later released a statement apologizing to both Foy and Smith for putting them in this situation:

“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. 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.

After six weeks of silence, Matt Smith finally made a statement on the story. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the Tribeca Film Festival, he said,

“Claire is one of my best friends, and I believe that we should be paid equally and fairly and there should be equality for all,” he said, adding: “I support her completely, and I’m pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that’s what 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.”

It’s unclear what “amends” Smith is referring to, as season three of The Crown will feature a time jump and an entirely new cast to play the older versions of the royal family. While there will be equal pay moving forward, there are no plans to retroactively compensate Claire Foy, who played an integral role in the show’s success. Smith also made no mention of the petition urging him to donate the extra salary he received to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.

Claire Foy responded in Entertainment Weekly, in what is perhaps the most British way possible, saying,

“I’m surprised because I’m at the center of it, and anything that I’m at the center 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.’ But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.”

(via The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, image: Netflix)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.