Last week, the producers of Netflix’s hit drama The Crown admitted that co-star Matt Smith was paid more for playing Prince Philip than the show’s leading woman (and Queen Elizabeth herself), actress Claire Foy.
Although the actual dollar amount Smith received is unclear, Variety reported that Foy made around $40,000 per episode. Now, fans of the show are asking that, whatever the discrepancy might be, Smith donate the difference to Hollywood’s Time’s Up legal defense fund.
The Crown – Phillip – Introducing Prince Philip
Producers reportedly said that the decision to pay Smith more than Foy was not based on the actors’ respective roles in The Crown, but rather on their previous experience and name recognition. Foy appeared on Upstairs Downstairs and Vampire Academy but was still largely unknown to audiences outside of the UK before her work on The Crown. Smith, on the other hand, had already earned international recognition for his work as the titular star of BBC’s hit series Doctor Who.
The fan petition for Smith to donate a portion of his salary to Time’s Up comes after an executive producer of The Crown said, that going forward, the actress playing the Queen will always receive the highest pay per episode.
“You know gender pay gaps are a problem when even the Queen isn’t paid fairly,” the Care2 fan petition reads. “At a recent conference, Netflix producers admitted that for two seasons, they paid Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth on The Crown, much less than her co-star Matt Smith who plays her on-screen husband, Prince Phillip.”
As of press time, the petition has amassed over 23,000 of the requested 25,000 signatures, and passionate fans aren’t holding back in leaving their support for Foy.
“I’ve had enough of watching people do the same job I do and get more than I do,” wrote one anonymous backer. “It’s time we made a change and spoke out. If even the Queen’s getting shortchanged when she’s the lead on a damn good show, it’s a g*d damn travesty.”
“Salary disparity is unequal treatment of women,” wrote a Florida-based backer named Barbara. “Women put in the work; they should be fairly paid for that work. Otherwise, it says that their efforts are not as valuable as a man’s. Claire Foy carries this series. She is the lead character and has put in more hours on screen. To pay her less conveys that she is not as significant. It’s time to STOP taking advantage of women.”
This isn’t the first time fans have petitioned a male co-star to do the right thing when it comes to income disparity. Late last year it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg was paid over one million dollars for reshoots for the Oscar-nominated All The Money In The World, while his co-star (and the film’s leading actress) Michelle Williams was only paid a standard Hollywood day rate. After a similar petition got over 16,000 signatures, Whalberg donated his entire reshoot salary to the legal defense fund.
“Over the last few days my re-shoot fee for All the Money in the World has become an important topic of conversation,” Wahlberg said in a statement in January. “I 100 percent support the fight for fair pay and I’m donating the $1.5 million to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name.” The actor also donated an extra $50,000 to the fund at the time.
What do you think of the petition to Matt Smith? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Netflix + Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)