Producers of the Netflix drama The Crown have apologised to actors Claire Foy and Matt Smith over the revelation that Foy was paid less than her male co-star.
A producer disclosed last week that Foy, who starred as Queen Elizabeth II, was paid less than Smith, who played Prince Philip, because Smith was better known, having done a six-year stint as Doctor Who.
Foy, 33, has won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for her nuanced portrayal of Britain’s monarch in the 1950s and 1960s.
But Smith, 35, has not been not similarly honoured.
The gender pay gap has become a big issue in Hollywood after revelations that many female stars were paid less than their male counterparts.
Since news of The Crown pay gap broke, a petition has urged Smith to donate part of his salary to the Time’s Up campaign, which is campaigning against sexism and sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.
Production company Left Bank Pictures said on Tuesday the actors “are not aware of who gets what and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues”.
The Crown traces Queen Elizabeth II’s journey from princess to queen, beginning in the 1950s. (Netflix: Robert Viglasky)
The production company said it was sorry that Foy and Smith “found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own”.
The company said it was “absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias” and was keen to speak to Time’s Up.
The Crown traces Queen Elizabeth II’s journey from princess to queen, beginning in the 1950s.
Foy and Smith are being replaced by older performers in the next season.
British actress Olivia Coleman is stepping in to play the older monarch as the show moves into the 1970s.
This season was Foy and Smith’s last on the show. They will be replaced by older actors as the story moves into the 1970s.