“You know gender pay gaps are a problem when even the Queen isn’t paid fairly,” say the organizers of a public petition calling on actor Matt Smith to donate the difference between his and Claire Foy’s salary from “The Crown” to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
The news that Smith, who played Prince Philip in “The Crown,” was paid more than Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II, made headlines around the world last week, at a time when unequal pay for men and women was already in the spotlight. The Care2 petition to redress that imbalance is seeking 25,000 signatures and had 22,000 as of Monday morning in Britain. Care2 is a social network for activists and campaigns for animal rights, women’s rights, civil rights, and environmental and political issues.
Producers of the show, speaking at the INTV conference in Jerusalem last week, acknowledged that Smith was paid more, saying he was a bigger name than Foy when “The Crown” was first produced. But they then pledged that there would be gender pay parity for the incoming cast of the series, which is heading into its third and fourth seasons.
“Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” said Suzanne Mackie, creative director for Left Bank, which makes the series.
Neither Foy nor Smith have commented on the situation. Left Bank and Netflix have also not commented publicly.
“Women in all industries are facing a struggle for pay equality,” the organizer of the petition, listed as Rebecca G, said. “Women in the US typically earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts for full time work. And the pay gap for women of color is even more striking. Black women typically only make 63 cents for every dollar paid to their white male counterparts and Latina women only make 54 cents on average.”
Rebecca G added: “While it may be easy for some to dismiss gender pay disparity for already high-paid actors like Claire Foy, I believe that publicly addressing high-profile cases of sexism will also help create greater opportunities for all women — in all careers.”
An earlier Care2 petition called on Mark Wahlberg to donate some of his earnings to Time’s Up after he was paid vastly more than co-star Michelle Williams to re-shoot scenes of “All the Money in the World.” The actor ultimately did donate his entire $1.5 million re-shoot fee to Time’s Up, in Williams’ name.
Subscribe to Variety Newsletters and Email Alerts!