Despite headlining the Netflix period drama as a young Queen Elizabeth II, Foy was paid $40,000 per episode for the first two seasons – significantly less than her co-star Matt Smith, who allegedly received a bumper contract due to his involvement in Doctor Who.
Such a disparity led to strong reaction online, as evidenced by the Care2 petition calling on Smith and Netflix to donate the difference in paychecks to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Still no word on whether the Powers That Be have taken heed of said petition, but while chatting to Entertainment Weekly, Claire Foy acknowledged the pay gap, and admits to being “surprised” to find herself in the center of the controversy.
I’m surprised because I’m at the center of it, and anything that I’m at the center of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of 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 center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.
Foy’s comments follow an official apology from Left Bank Pictures, the production company responsible for the Netflix period drama, who have vowed to stamp out any traces of disparity before filming begins on season 3.
Here’s a short snippet of the copy:
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.
Aside from Olivia Colman picking up the mantle as Queen Elizabeth II, details of The Crown season 3 are being kept locked up in the gold-covered vaults of Buckingham Palace. But we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Netflix epic once production resumes this summer.