'The Crown's Claire Foy Was Paid Less Than Her Male Co-Star & Fans Are Understandably Outraged
While the push for gender equality in television and film continues, it's been revealed that The Crown star Claire Foy was reportedly paid less than co-star Matt Smith for her lead role on the series, according to Variety. The news, while shocking, is certainly nothing new when it comes to the long-standing issues in Hollywood. News of the pay disparity between Foy and Smith first came to light during a discussion at INTV Conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, where producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries were asked if the the actors playing Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were paid the same amount, according to the Washington Post.
The production duo reportedly revealed that Smith made more doing the first two seasons due to his fame on the BBC series Doctor Who. However, they shared that the disparity would be amended in future episode of the series, with Mackie explaining, "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen." (Bustle reached out to Netflix for comment on the situation, but did not receive an immediate response.)
While it's certainly great news to hear that the show's female lead will finally be receiving the pay increase she deserves, it's a bit disheartening that Foy probably won't actually be the one reaping the benefits from the show that her talents helped thrust into critical acclaim.
As part of its unconventional casting structure, which rotates actors every two seasons, The Washington Post reported that Foy's character will be replaced for the upcoming season. The show jumps between the time periods of the 1940s and 1950s, and then into the 1960s and 1970s throughout its narrative. Variety indicated that the show will face an entire recasting in Season 3, as Olivia Colman will begin portraying the Queen in the show's return. The re-casting of Prince Philip has yet to be announced, while it's reported that Helena Bonham Carter has signed on to play Princess Margaret.
Speaking on the casting process during the conference, Harries explained,
“I think we were the first television series ever to change cast and continue, and we will change cast twice. It’s daunting but exciting and I hope it’ll keep the series fresh and really of interest to people.”
The Washington Post pointed out that Foy's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown made her a breakout star with her performance garnering accolades throughout the first two seasons. During her time in the role, Foy won an Emmy and won a Golden Globe for her performance. Despite the recognition and critical reception for her work, Foy continued to reportedly receive a lesser payout than Smith for the show's second season, in which she earned another Golden Globe nomination.
Fans definitely aren't pleased by this news, and several took to Twitter to voice their concerns.
While not a new phenomenon, equal pay has become a major point of discussion lately. Earlier this year it was reported that black-ish actor Tracee Ellis Ross was making significantly less than her co-star Anthony Anderson, despite the fact that the pair have maintained similar roles on the sitcom since its inception in 2014. Much like Foy, Ellis received critical acclaim for her performance on the black-ish, including a Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy, as well as Primetime Emmy Award nominations in both 2016 and 2017.
There was also another huge controversy surrounding the inequity in pay between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg for their reshoots for All The Money In The World late last year, in which it was reported that Williams earned $80 a day, totaling less than $1,000, while Wahlberg received a payout of $1.5 million in total.
At the end of 2017, Catt Sadler also made the decision to leave the E! network over a pay disparity issue involving co-host Jason Kennedy. (However, an E! spokesperson told Bustle, "E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender.")
Though the fight for equal pay continues to move forward through the courage of those who continue to push for change, this latest revelation involving The Crown proves there's still a long way to go.