In March of this year, Left Bank Pictures, the producers behind Netflix’s monarchy fantasia The Crown, found themselves in hot water after revealing that supporting actor Matt Smith (Prince Philip) takes home a larger salary than star Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth II). I’ll spare you the details, but they argued Smith gets paid a heck of a lot more than Foy because of all the eyeballs he brings in from his Doctor Who days, name recognition and all that, regardless of the fact that Foy is the damn lead. A few weeks later Foy told Entertainment Weekly she was “not surprised” that public outrage ensued following the gender pay disparity news. Left Bank has since apologized, with creative producer Suzanne Mackie offering, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
The Daily Mail reports that, in order to right the company’s past wrongs, Foy will receive $275,000 in back pay. Left Bank shared the following statement:
“As the producers of The Crown, we 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. 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 in front of the camera and behind the scenes.”
At last week’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Mapplethorpe, a biopic starring Smith as the enigmatic photographer, he addressed the gender pay disparity drama:
“I think actually she probably should’ve been paid that originally in the first place and I think everyone’s taken a long hard look at themselves and gone ‘Here’s where we went wrong and can we go forward and make it right?’ The problem is it happened too late. She’s the Queen for God’s sake. It’s ridiculous.”
“Probably should’ve”? He’s right about one thing—it is ridiculous.