A Petition Is Asking 'The Crown' Actor Matt Smith To Donate Part Of His Salary To Time's Up
Trailing last week's news of The Crown's reported equal pay disparity, a pool of organizers are calling Time's Up on the series' former leading man. As of Monday morning, March 19, a new public petition is asking The Crown actor Matt Smith to donate part of his The Crown salary to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. As reported by Variety last week, Smith made an undisclosed amount more on the Netflix series than Foy, who portrays Queen Elizabeth II, the titular crown of the series. Bustle reached out to Netflix for comment on the salary situation and the petition, but did not receive an immediate response.
The petition is asking that Smith donate the difference between his and Claire Foy's salaries to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. "You know gender pay gaps are a problem when even the Queen isn't paid fairly," reads the petition, in bold-faced type. The petition is located on the Helmed by activist-centric social networking site Care2 (a virtual stomping ground for campaigns that focus on women's and civil rights, among other political and environmental issues) and it has already received over 23,000 signatures of its requested 25,000.
Foy and Smith have yet to publicly comment on the petition. Neither Left Bank nor Netflix have issued any public statements, either. (For the record, Left Bank, a Sony Pictures subsidiary, is the London-based production company who created The Crown.) During the INTV conference in Jerusalem last week, two of The Crown's head producers, Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries (Left Bank's CEO and creative director, respectively), acknowledged the pay gap between the series' leading actors, crediting Smith's higher salary to his long-held Doctor Who fame. But, gearing up for the show's third season, the producers said they're committed to making a change. "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," said Mackie, according to a March 13 report by Variety.
Unfortunately, Foy will not reap the benefits of their redress, since The Crown's upcoming third and fourth seasons call for at least a partial overhaul of its cast members. Foy's performance as Queen Elizabeth II over the series' past two seasons has been met with widespread critical and commercial acclaim, the likes of which have earned her two Golden Globe nominations (the first of which, she won), as well as one Emmy nomination.
"Women in all industries are facing a struggle for pay equality," wrote the petition's lead organizer, listed on the site as Rebecca G. As most working women already know, the verity of Rebecca G.'s statement is certainly no well-kept secret. But, given the burgeoning momentum of Hollywood's Time's Up campaign, which seeks to end sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace, it seemed like the optimal time for a data-driven call-to-action.
The statistics, in and of themselves, are pretty much proof enough. Penning the petition's description, Rebecca G. continued,
"Women in the US typically earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts for full time work. And the pay gap for women of color is even more striking. Black women typically only make 63 cents for every dollar paid to their white male counterparts and Latina women only make 54 cents on average."
Her salary stats aligned with those presented by the U.S. Census Bureau. And, in addressing The Crown's wage disparity specifically, Rebecca G. explained the motives behind her advocacy. And while she did acknowledge that, compared to most women, Foy gets paid well, she also offered some insights into why the issue remains a critically important one. "While it may be easy for some to dismiss gender pay disparity for already high-paid actors like Claire Foy," wrote Rebecca G., "I believe that publicly addressing high-profile cases of sexism will also help create greater opportunities for all women — in all careers."
As Rebecca G.'s call-to-action stated, an earlier petition called on Mark Wahlberg to donate his re-shoot earnings from All The Money In The World to Time's Up after it was reported that he'd been compensated significantly more generously than Michelle Williams, his female co-star. In January, Wahlberg did end up donating his full $1.5 million re-shoot salary to Time's Up — and he did so in Williams' name. It remains to be seen if Smith will follow suit.