Remember back in April, when it was reported The Crown's Claire Foy would receive £200,000 in back pay to compensate for the gender pay gap between her and co-star Matt Smith? Well, it looks like The Crown's Claire Foy may not have received back pay after all, according to the actress herself; or at the very least, not the reported amount. She played the actual Queen, readers. How does anyone on a show about the Queen get paid more than the Queen?!
In April, the Mail on Sunday reported that Foy had received £200,000 in back pay to make up for the disparity between her and Smith, who played Prince Philip. But speaking to Al Arabiya, Foy said, "That was what was reported that I was back-paid. I’ve never mentioned anything about it and neither have the producers. The fact that that is ‘fact’ is — not quite correct." I emailed The Crown's production company, Left Bank Pictures, for comment, but haven't received a response.
Foy continued, "Yes it’s Netflix, but it’s a British production company. It happened at the same time as it was coming out with a lot of other people that there was a lot of pay inequality across the board — in the music industry, in journalism, in every industry. It’s across the board that it became part of a bigger conversation, which is an odd place to find yourself in."
News of the pay gap originally broke in March, after the production team behind The Crown appeared at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. Variety reported, "Asked whether Foy was paid the same as Smith, the producers acknowledged that he did make more due to his Doctor Who fame, but that they would rectify that for the future."
The production company in question, Left Bank Pictures, apologised to both Foy and Matt Smith when news of the pay gap originally broke; as Hollywood Reporter wrote, the company released a statement saying, "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."
They added, "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."
At the INTV conference in Jerusalem in March, creative director and executive producer of Left Bank Pictures Suzanne Mackie said that pay parity would be guaranteed in future series. "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," Mackie said. Olivia Colman will take up Foy's role of Queen Elizabeth II in the next series of The Crown. Foy — who's next appearing as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider's Web — won a Golden Globe and received nominations for a BAFTA and a Primetime Emmy for her work on the show. Kinda seems worthy of equal compensation, doesn't it?