'The Crown' Production Company Apologizes to Claire Foy, Matt Smith Over Pay Controversy

Left Bank Pictures, the production company behind The Crown, apologized Tuesday for the controversy around the gender pay gap between stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith.

"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," Left Bank said in a 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 company added: "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 production firm continued: "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. 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, organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”

At a March 13 conference in Israel, producers revealed that Foy earned less than male co-star Smith for the first two seasons of the hit show. Foy plays Queen Elizabeth in the drama from showrunner Peter Morgan, Sony Pictures Television Studios and Left Bank, and she earned a Golden Globe, SAG Award and Emmy nomination, among other accolades. Smith came to the show — on which he played Prince Philip for two seasons — with considerably more experience after having spent three seasons starring as The Doctor on Doctor Who

"Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," Left Bank creative director and executive producer Suzanne Mackie said at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. 

A petition is calling on Smith to donate the extra salary he received for the Netflix drama to Time's Up. The Care2 petition urges Smith and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to "show that they stand with women and do the right thing" while asking the actor and streaming giant to donate the difference in Smith's pay to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.