The producers of Netflix series The Crown have issued a statement apologising to Matt Smith and Claire Foy, saying the actors were not privy to the pay of their colleagues.
The apology follows the revelation by producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries that former Doctor Who star Smith was paid more for his portrayal of the young Duke of Edinburgh than his leading lady and co-star Foy, who had the title role of the Queen in the series.
American outlet Variety also quoted Mackie as saying that would not be the case in the third series, which sees Olivia Colman replace Foy as the Queen.
Left Bank Pictures said: “We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the centre 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 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 Times Up UK – organisations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.”
— Mark Wahlberg (@markwahlberg) January 13, 2018
Following the comments, a petition was started urging Smith to donate the difference in their salary earnings to the Time’s Up movement.
Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg donated 1.5 million dollars (£1.1 million) to the movement after it emerged his All The Money In The World co-star Michelle Williams was paid a fraction of what he had earned for reshoots.
The film had to reshoot certain scenes to erase disgraced star Kevin Spacey and Wahlberg donated what he had earned for the reshoots.