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Claire Foy Responds to ‘The Crown’ Pay Inequality Controversy: It’s ‘Very, Very Odd’

She was paid less than co-star Matt Smith despite playing the more important role.

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Matt Smith as Prince Philip

Alex Bailey/Courtesy of Netflix

The latest pay-inequality scandal erupted when it was revealed that Claire Foy was paid less than co-star Matt Smith for the first two seasons of “The Crown” despite being the star of Netflix’s royal drama. (Foy was a relative unknown when she was cast as Queen Elizabeth II, whereas Smith was well known for his work on “Doctor Who.”)

Many have spoken up about the situation since it was first revealed — Left Bank Pictures, the show’s production company, has said that, “going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen” — but one voice has been conspicuously absent from the dialogue: Foy’s.

Until now, at least. “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,” Foy tells Entertainment Weekly. “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.”

Left Bank has apologized for putting Foy and Smith “at the the centre of a media storm…through no fault of their own…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 will be succeeded in her regal duties by Olivia Colman on the next two seasons of “The Crown,” currently stars in Steven Soderbergh’s “Unsane.”

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