6:21pm PT by Hilary Lewis
'The Crown' Star Matt Smith Breaks Silence on Claire Foy Pay-Disparity Controversy
Matt Smith is finally speaking out about the news that he was paid more than his The Crown counterpart Claire Foy.
The actor, who played Prince Philip in the first two seasons of the Netflix royal drama, told The Hollywood Reporter he supports Foy.
"Claire is one of my best friends, and I believe that we should be paid equally and fairly and there should be equality for all," he said, adding: "I support her completely, and I'm pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that's what needed to happen. Going forward, I think we should all bear in mind that we need to strive to make this better and a more even playing field for everyone involved — but not just in our industry, in all industries."
It's unclear what Smith was referring to when he said Netflix and producers Sony Pictures Television Production had "made amends." THR has reached out to Netflix for comment on if Foy received compensation after completing her time on the series.
Smith spoke to THR at the world premiere of his new film, Mapplethorpe, in which he plays famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
Last month, at a conference in Israel, producers revealed that Smith earned more than Foy for the first two seasons of The Crown.
While Foy starred as Queen Elizabeth in the first two seasons of the drama, Smith came to the show after three seasons of starring as The Doctor on Doctor Who. Left Bank creative director and executive producer Suzanne Mackie acknowledged that Smith's experience on Doctor Who fueled the salary disparity, but then vowed, "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen."
The roles of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret have all been recast with older actors ahead of The Crown's third season.
After the news of the pay gap generated controversy, Left Bank apologized to both Smith and Foy.
"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," the production company behind The Crown 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."
Left Bank 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. 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."
A petition had been started urging Smith to donate the extra salary he received to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.
Salary parity has become an important part of the movement to improve women's roles in front of and behind the camera.