Left Bank Pictures, the production company behind Netflix’s drama series “The Crown,” has issued a statement taking full responsibility for the pay gap that resulted in Matt Smith receiving a higher salary than lead actress Claire Foy during the first two seasons of the show. The pay gap was confirmed by producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries earlier this month. The producers said Smith was being paid more because of his popularity from “Doctor Who.”
“We want to apologize 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,” Left Bank said in its statement. “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.”
The production firm continued: “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.”
Left Bank stated that it will work with organizations such as Time’s Up UK campaign and ERA 50:50 to “ensure all women have a voice” behind the scenes of their future projects.
“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,” Left Bank said. “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.”
Several days after the news broke of the pay gap, an online Care2 petition started circulating urging Matt Smith to donate part of his salary to Time’s Up on behalf of Foy. The petition has earned over 22,000 signatures.
“The Crown” producer Suzanne Mackie promised the gap will no longer be in effect as the show moves into Season 3.