This is what Claire Foy learned from The Crown’s salary scandal

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Susan Devaney
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Claire foy as Elizabeth in the crown

During a panel discussion for Netflix’s hit series, The Crown, actress Claire Foy, once again, addressed the gender pay gap issue with her co-star Matt Smith. 

As the conversation surrounding the gender pay gap on The Crown continues, Claire Foy admits that it’s taught her that there’s a difference between “being difficult” and “supporting yourself” as a woman in the workplace.

Speaking during a Netflix panel discussion on Friday (27 April), Foy admitted that prior to the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative, no-one had asked her any questions about her experiences as a woman in the entertainment industry.

“I have had the most extraordinary revelation about myself and womankind,” Foy said. “It’s sort of amazing that the conversations people are having now, people think we’ve always been able to have, but we haven’t. You asking me that question [referring to the gender pay gap] is probably the first time in my career that anybody has ever asked me about being a woman in this industry, or just being a woman in general, and to me I find that amazing.”

Last month, Foy’s salary was made public after Netflix producers admitted she was paid less than her male co-star Matt Smith on the hit TV series. Foy, who played the lead role as Queen Elizabeth, starred opposite Matt Smith, who portrayed her husband, Prince Philip. Foy, was reportedly paid $40,000 (£29,000) per episode for the first two series, received a public apology from the producers.

“We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own,” said a spokesperson for Left Bank Pictures.

“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.”

Foy, who played the lead role as Queen Elizabeth, starred opposite Matt Smith, who portrayed her husband, Prince Philip. 

And, last week, Smith himself addressed the pay disparity for the first time.

“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.”

Smith added: “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.”

It is unclear what Smith’s remark of “made amends” means, as Netflix has not released a statement on the issue. However, Netflix has reportedly paid Foy £200,000 in back pay. 

Accompanied on the panel by actress Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret), the show’s creator Peter Morgan, and costume designer Jane Petrie, Foy also made a point in saying that going forward women must “speak up” in their chosen field.

“If I don’t speak up and support myself, then no one else can,” she continued. “It’s about being able to feel you can be your own advocate, and you can make a point, and you can say something without it being you being ‘difficult.’ It can actually just be you supporting yourself.”

You can read more on the gender pay gap here.

Images: Netflix