Matt Smith, who played the Eleventh Doctor between 2010 and 2013, has spoken out about the pay gap between himself and The Crown co-star, Claire Foy on the popular Netflix drama.
Smith, of course, portrayed Prince Philip opposite Foy’s Queen Elizabeth II during the show’s first two seasons, and it was revealed that Matt was actually paid more for his role than Foy. Some say Foy’s the main character – she is the Queen after all! – but The Crown treated its main cast very well, dishing out plenty of screentime to all, so we’d at least argue that her and Smith were both its leads.
“Claire is one of my best friends, and I believe that we should be paid equally and fairly and there should be equality for all. I support her completely, and I’m pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that’s what needed to happen. Going forward, I think we should all bear in mind that we need to strive to make this better and a more even playing field for everyone involved — but not just in our industry, in all industries.”
He’s obviously 100% right – inequality exists in all industries and we have to fight for what’s right.
Nonetheless, it’d be fair to say Matt might’ve commanded a higher fee than Claire, simply due to his raised profile – i.e. being the Doctor, one of the most iconic TV heroes in one of the most popular BBC series. However, as The Crown was critically-acclaimed, gained plenty of column-inches, and was Netflix’s most expensive show, you’d at least expect disparages in pay to have been eliminated for the second season.
This comes after a petition was launched asking Smith and producers, Left Bank Pictures, to donate the difference in fees to Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund – which is a tad ridiculous anyway. Why put the onus on Smith, over, say, the producers? Equality shouldn’t be approached as if punishment is the answer. Let’s not forget that this wasn’t Matt’s fault in the slightest – as Left Bank noted in a previous apology:
“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. 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. We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and 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, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes.”
Fortunately, executive producer, Suzanne Mackie has added, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
Well done to Matt, too, for acknowledging the problem, but not feeling the need to rush into the media storm that followed the controversy!
The Crown will return to Netflix, but alas, not with Foy and Smith…