Claire Foy Says 'The Crown' Never Offered Her Backpay After The Pay Gap Controversy
"The fact that that is 'fact' is — not quite correct," the actress said.
Claire Foy has cleared things up once and for all: There is no truth to reports that she was offered backpay for her Emmy-nominated role in Netflix's The Crown.
The actress has dismissed claims the show's producers agreed to compensate her with a total of $250,000 in backpay following the show's pay gap controversy. In March, it was revealed that her co-star, Matt Smith, was paid substantially more for his role as Prince Philip than Foy was paid to play Queen Elizabeth II.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Foy addressed the rumors.
"That was what was reported, that I was backpaid. I’ve never mentioned anything about it and neither have the producers. The fact that that is ‘fact’ is — not quite correct," she clarified. "Yes, it’s Netflix, but it’s a British production company. It happened at the same time as it was coming out with a lot of other people that there was a lot of pay inequality across the board — in the music industry, in journalism, in every industry. It’s across the board that it became part of a bigger conversation, which is an odd place to find yourself in."
Earlier this year, The Crown producer Suzanne Mackie admitted the reason Smith had a higher paycheck was his international fame from a stint on Doctor Who. The show's producers went on to promise that, going forward, "no one gets paid more than the queen," but Foy will never benefit from that because the show has employed a new cast for future seasons.
Foy shared that the scandal was a learning experience on her part. She's learned to be more vocal about things that affect women in the industry.
"I realized early on that me being quiet about it or me not thinking about it in any way, and not associating myself with it, would be harmful to me and also lots of other people," she said. "It’s taught me a lot, and I’m still learning about it. I have not come out the other side and know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m still learning as much as anybody else is."
It's no secret Hollywood is riddled with massive pay discrepancies between male and female talent. Aside from Foy, there's a long list of actresses who have been at the center of wage inequality scandals. One notable example is Michelle Williams, who was paid less than her co-star, Mark Wahlberg, for reshoots of All the Money in the World. Williams got a mere $1,000, while Wahlberg received a staggering $1.5 million.
Even A-listers like Charlize Theron aren't immune to the gap. For The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, Theron put her foot down and negotiated for an equal salary with her co-star, Chris Hemsworth, after she discovered she was earning less than the actor. In the end, she won an increase of $10 million.
In 2014, the controversial Sony hack revealed that in American Hustle, actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams got smaller back-end deals compared to male stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner. Lawrence eventually spoke against the wage gap in an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.
"I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight," she wrote. "I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.' I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F— that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard."
We have a long way to go until the industry stops valuing female creatives less than men, but we're glad actresses have started to speak up and demand what they deserve.
Hollywood, your time is up.