The producers of the Netflix series admitted that Claire Foy received a smaller paycheck than her costar Matt Smith. Now, they have responded with an apology to the actors.

By Sarah Yang
March 14, 2018

It seems like even a queen isn’t immune to the gender pay gap. Claire Foy might have ruled our screens playing Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix’s popular series The Crown, but her paycheck didn’t reflect that. At a panel at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem, producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries revealed that Foy was paid less than her costar, Matt Smith, who portrays the Queen's husband, Prince Philip.

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According to Variety, the producers stated that Smith was paid more due to his fame from starring in the popular British science-fiction show, Doctor Who. Prior to her leading role on The Crown, Foy wasn’t as well known, with roles in series Wolf Hall and Upstairs Downstairs. Even so, the revelation is disappointing as Foy arguably had the bigger role in the series, appearing in almost every scene. The actress also won a 2017 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama, and two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.

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The Crown producers promised this won’t be the case for future seasons. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Mackie said during the panel. Foy and Smith won’t be returning for the third season as the whole cast will be replaced with older actors to cover the time period from 1964 to 1976. It’s been confirmed that Olivia Colman will portray Queen Elizabeth II in seasons three and four, with Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) and Paul Bettany (Prince Philip) rumored as potential future costars.

Update: The producers released a statement to Deadline about the controversy, apologizing to the actors involved. “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 producers said. “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 re-balancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes.” To read the full statement, click here.

Real Simple reached out to Netflix for comment.