Left Bank Pictures, producer of Netflix’s The Crown, has issued a statement apologizing to Claire Foy and Matt Smith for fallout from comments made last week about the salaries of the series’ stars. The actors “have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own,” Left Bank said.
During a panel at the INTV conference in Jerusalem last week, Crown exec producer Suzanne Mackie spoke to Deadline’s Peter White about gender pay equality with the revelation that Foy had been paid less than Smith, her co-star in the first two seasons. This led to strong reaction and a Care2 petition calling on Smith and Netflix to donate the difference in paychecks to the Time’sUp Legal Defense Fund.
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Smith, who played Prince Phillip, had a higher profile than Queen Elizabeth II’s Foy when the series was being cast. “He had been Doctor Who,” Mackie said in Jerusalem. But going forward, she allowed, “It’s really important for the Queen to be paid more.”
Today, Left Bank says, “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.”
The company notes it is “absolutely united with the fight for fair pay” and that it is engaged in conversations with ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Time’s Up UK.”
Here’s the full statement:
“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.
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.
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 re-balancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes.
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. As company policy we are engaged in conversations with ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Time’s Up UK; organisations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”
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