After all the public outrage over Mark Wahlberg making $1.5 million vs. Michelle Williams making only $1,000 to reshoot All the Money in the World, you’d think Hollywood might have learned its lesson about the egregious gender pay gap. Time’s Up and all that, right? Well, we’ve got another story of Hollywood jilting female actors in favor of their male co-stars: Netflix paid Claire Foy less than her co-star Matt Smith for both seasons of The Crown. And Claire Foy plays the freaking Queen of England, while Smith only plays her husband (a main but nonetheless supporting character).
Yeah, let that sink in: Queen Elizabeth II made less money than Prince Philip on a TV show that is *literally about the Queen’s life and rise to power*. That is so incredibly inappropriate and downright enraging. Netflix, you’ve got some serious explaining to do.
The shocking truth came out during a panel about the Netflix show at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. The Crown producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries were actually asked about the stars’ salaries, and Variety reports that “the producers acknowledged that [Smith] did make more due to his Doctor Who fame but that they would rectify that for the future.”
Here’s the kicker: Mackie then added, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.” Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen. Seriously? Too little, too late.
This pay disparity is incredibly problematic for a few reasons, the biggest being that Foy will never have the chance to have this made up to her. The Crown is recasting every role for Season 3 to jump forward to the ’70s, so Foy’s time on the series is over. She will never get paid more, unless Netflix does the right thing and pays her what she’s owed after the fact.
Despite Foy being a relative unknown compared to Smith at the time of her casting, for playing the lead, she should have been paid at the very least the same amount as him. How this was approved by anyone at Netflix is genuinely baffling. There is so much wrong here.
Hopefully Smith helps make things right, whether that’s giving part of his paycheck to Foy (or to Time’s Up like Wahlberg did) or making Netflix pay Foy what she’s owed to bring her salary up to his, if not higher. You just don’t stiff the queen, people.