The Crown's Matt Smith speaks on Claire Foy pay disparity row

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Matt Smith and Claire Foy (Credit: PA)

Matt Smith has broken his silence over the pay disparity row on Netflix series The Crown, after it emerged he was being paid more than the show’s star Claire Foy.

It was revealed last month at a TV conference in Jerusalem that Left Bank, the production company that makes the show, had paid Smith more despite his supporting role as the Duke of Edinburgh.

Smith was attending the premiere of new biopic Mapplethorpe at the Tribeca Film Festival, when he was asked about the controvery.

“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,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I support her completely, and I’m pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that what’s 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.”

Left Bank apologised to both Smith and Foy following the outcry over the disparity.

“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,” it said in a statement.

(Credit: Netflix)

“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.

“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate. As company policy we are engaged in conversations with ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Time’s Up UK, organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”

Foy spoke about the furore in March, telling Entertainment Weekly: “I’m surprised because I’m at the centre of it, and anything that I’m at the centre of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of [the] ordinary.

“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.’

“But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the centre [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.”

Season three of the series, which will see Foy replaced in the role of the Queen by Olivia Colman and Matt Smith by Game of Thrones star Tobias Menzies, will air later this year.

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