The Crown’s Lead Actress Paid Less Than Co-Star

Nathalie Sibal, Co-Copy Editor

During an INTV Conference in Jerusalem on March 13, The Crown producers, Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries, were asked a series of questions about the Netflix hit series. This panel discussion led to the revelation of the pay gap between lead actress, Claire Foy, and her co-star, Matt Smith. The producers admitted to paying Smith more than Foy due to his fame from Doctor Who.


The Crown fan, Yujany Sarabia, 11, believes that the salary difference between the two actors was not handled correctly.


“It’s not justified that she got paid less considering she’s the main character in the series,” Sarabia said. “Claire Foy is a wonderful actress who did an amazing job in her role as Elizabeth in The Crown. She deserves, if not equal, then more than Matt Smith. I feel like she did a lot more scenes in the show that required long hours of recording.”


Since then, the salary difference has sparked controversy throughout social media. Numerous fans have asked Netflix to give Foy the compensation she deserves. Others have started a petition urging Smith and Netflix to donate the difference in salaries to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which has gained over 45,000 supporters.


Joshua Sanchez, 11, believes a donation to Time’s Up would be a step towards resolving the issue.


“I think a fair compromise could come through a fair donation of the current difference to Time’s Up and work to address the issue of this wage difference, not only between these individuals [Foy and Smith], but the subject as whole,” Sanchez said. “All the while still fixing the problem Claire Foy appears to be facing. At the time, I don’t think this could be the best way to fix the issue, but it is fair enough at the time to raise awareness of the subject to further get individuals to formulate better, more effective solutions.”


Foy addressed the controversy in an Entertainment Weekly article released on March 24. “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.’,” Foy said.


On Jan. 9, a similar incident was reported in an article from USA Today. It was revealed that the lead actress of All the Money in the World, Michelle Williams, was paid less than $1,000 for reshoots while co-star, Mark Wahlberg, received a total of $1.5 million. After receiving criticism, Wahlberg donated $2 million to the Time’s Up initiative.


JSA Member, Kay Urquieta, 11, shares her thoughts on how these stories can help make an impact in Hollywood.


“I think that stories like these will help encourage a more equal Hollywood, though it will take time, it can happen,” Urquieta said. “With the constant impact of stories like these, the time for equality will come soon.”

Left Bank Pictures has agreed to change the salaries for the upcoming season, starring Olivia Colman. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Mackie said during the conference. The company issued an apology to Foy and Smith on March 20 for putting them in the center of the media’s attention.