Claire Foy Calls 'The Crown' Gender Pay Gap Controversy 'Very, Very Odd'
By Jackie Willis
Claire Foy admits she was caught off guard when her salary on The Crownstarted to become a point of discussion.
During the INTV Conference in Jerusalem earlier this month, Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries, producers of the Netflix drama, revealed that the 33-year-old actress was paid less for her role as Queen Elizabeth II than her male counterpart, Matt Smith, who portrays Prince Philip. The producers explained that the pay difference was due to Smith's Doctor Who fame, but not all fans were satisfied with that justification.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Foy confessed that she wasn't really sure what to think of all the fuss surrounding her and Smith's paychecks.
"I’m surprised because I’m at the center of it, and anything that I’m at the center of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of ordinary,” she said. “But I’m not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I’m not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, ‘Oh, that’s a bit odd.’
Foy added, "But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for."
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Some fans of The Crown were so outraged upon hearing of the pay gap that they created a Care2 petition, asking Smith to donate the difference in their paychecks to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.
Meanwhile, Left Bank Pictures, which produces The Crown, issued an apology to Foy and Smith in a statement to ET.
“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," reads the statement. "Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity. As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures 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."
Foy has received multiple accolades for her role as Queen Elizabeth II on the Netflix hit, including a Golden Globe and two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards.