Gwendolyn Purdom
Updated Mar 19, 2018 @ 3:37 pm

Royals are famously coached in decorum. But Prince Philip (Matt Smith) from Netflix’s The Crown *probably* wasn’t given any lessons on responding to crowd-sourced petitions. Still, Matt Smith, the actor behind Mr. Queen Elizabeth II on the drama series, is being urged to donate the difference between his salary and Claire Foy’s for the first two seasons of The Crown to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund after news broke that the actor made more than his headlining female co-star.

And the Care2 petition is currently up to more than 24,000 signatures.

The disparity between Foy and Smith’s paychecks came out during a panel last week at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem when producers admitted Smith was pulling in more dollars because of his Dr. Who-related higher profile going into the show, but that shouldn’t have been the case — you know, because the ENTIRE SHOW centers on Foy’s character and her time on the throne. (The exact difference in the actors’ salaries is still unclear.)

Smith may not have been coached on this, but he does have at least one recent high-profile example to look to for guidance in how to respond.

When the world learned Mark Wahlberg had earned $1.5 million for his All the Money in the World reshoots and co-star Michelle Williams had earned less than $1,000, Wahlberg eventually donated $1.5 million to the Time’s Up fund in Williams’ name. In that case, too, a Care2 petition had encouraged the higher paid man to take action in the face of injustice.

It’s both shocking and not that shocking to learn this kind of inequity is still happening despite the avalanche of visibility the issue of systematic unequal pay has earned in recent months. So far, neither Smith, Foy, nor Netflix have commented further on the issue.

Honestly, Matt Smith earning a whole bunch of money is fine by us, but it’s outrageous that for two full seasons his on-screen partner — the actual star of The Crown — wasn’t. SHE IS THE LITERAL QUEEN. Whether he donates his earnings to the fund or not (pro tip: they could use the support, Matt, just saying), we’re hoping Netflix and other studios recognize this kind of unfair garbage has no place in the world, and won’t let it happen again.