Should Matt Smith donate part of his ‘Crown’ salary to Time’s Up? No…?

75th Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

As we discussed last week, the producers of The Crown admitted that Matt Smith was paid more than Claire Foy for the first two seasons. Claire played Queen Elizabeth II, Matt played Prince Philip. Their time as Liz and Phil is over – that’s the conceit of The Crown, that they get new actors to play these “roles” every two seasons. There was a lot of justifiable outrage over the fact that “the Queen” wasn’t paid the same as “the Queen’s husband” and producers promised that it would never happen like that again, that in future season, the Queen would be paid the same or more than her costar. Now the producers are formally apologizing for the pay drama, and some believe that Matt Smith should give up part of his paycheck.

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. 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 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.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I mean… they should have just paid Foy and Smith the same from the start. That was what I argued and I still can’t believe they were boneheaded enough to think that “we should totally pay Prince Philip more!” It’s asinine, and yet another asinine look at the thought process of the men in charge across the board. That being said, it’s Netflix’s fault and the producers’ fault. Matt Smith shouldn’t be publicly shamed into donating to Time’s Up. If he wants to donate, then fine and more power to him. But Matt Smith is not Mark F–king Wahlberg looking for a multi-million payday on the back of a sexual-predator scandal. Matt Smith was just doing his job.

'The Crown' Season 2 – World Premiere - Arrivals

Netflix have launched the ‘A Visit from The Kennedy's’ featurette in Season 2 of The Crown

Photos courtesy of WENN, Netflix.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

70 Responses to “Should Matt Smith donate part of his ‘Crown’ salary to Time’s Up? No…?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. CrazyCatLady says:

    No one should tell anyone what they should do with THEIR money, 😎

    But wouldn’t that be a magnificent statement if he did?

  2. Una says:

    No, he shouldn’t. This idea that we should pay men less rather than paying women more has to die. Only producers and studios win in that case. The narrative should not be that Smith got undeserved money, it should be Foy got less than she deserved.

    • chai35 says:

      Exactly! How about the producers step up and give Foy back pay equal to what Smith was making?

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

    • SM says:

      I agree with UNA. No need to shame Matt into apologising or giving his salary away. He is not the one to blame in this case.

    • Snazzy says:

      Yes agree 100%

    • jammypants says:

      This reminded me of the Liam Nelson response. He shouldn’t have to take a pay cut. His screen mates should just be paid better. I agree.

    • Rumi says:

      Completely agree Una,
      This is about equal pay for equal work, but in Foy’s case she should have been paid more as she is the star, she is the lead.

    • Una says:

      For example, last year I was doing some extra work for the company I am working in. A male co-worker asked me about the job and decided to volunteer as well because he needed extra money. After his negotiation, he told me that he got a higher quote. Not to gloat or anything, he just gave me a heads up. So I asked for more money and I got it. If this male co-worker thought his quote might go down, would he still tell me?
      Equal pay for genders should not be posed as a threat to male co-workers. That would only end in hostile work environment. Pressure should be on the bosses and CEOs who are not giving women their due. Going after Matt Smith is not just stupid, it is detrimental to the movement.

    • Bridget says:

      Do you know how salaries are negotiated in Hollywood? Men are cast first, then women negotiate for the remaining money. If men are being overpaid to begin with, then they’re going to be paid less as the market evens back out. That’s just how things go.

      • tealily says:

        In this instance, that did not happen. Claire Foy was cast in November 2014, while Matt Smith wasn’t cast until June 2015 (according to Wikipedia, anyway). Actually, it looks like Foy and Vanessa Kirby were BOTH in negotiations before Smith and John Lithgow entered the picture.

      • Bridget says:

        And that’s fine – I actually am not particularly up in arms about this instance, especially since I think it’s a terrible show that spends it’s entire time mansplaining the Queen and I couldn’t have told you who Claire Foy is prior to the show. I should have clarified, it is frequently movies that are cast this way (Cheryl Ladd memorably brought it up recently).

        But Una’s complaint that “men shouldn’t be paid less” doesn’t stand. If one party is overpaid and the other is underpaid, then there’s bound to be an adjustment.

      • Una says:

        @Bridget It does hold up. You have a production company that provides the bugdet. Less money they pay to the cast and crew, more money they get to keep . By paying men less, producers get to keep even more of the money and revenue. Unless there is something super shady going on, your male co-worker is not stealing your fair share.

      • tealily says:

        I get what you’re saying @Bridget. In future productions, men will have to be paid less in order for women to be paid more, assuming the pool of money for casting stays the same (to be paid the same, women’s salaries will go up and men’s will go down).

        I think Una’s point is that by focusing on taking the difference from Smith’s salary and demanding he donate it, people are demanding in effect that they both be underpaid for this show, which isn’t the best policy from a labor rights standpoint. We should be clearly focusing on the idea that women should be paid as highly as the men are, whether or not they are starring opposite a male lead.

        I guess in some ways it is extra gross that Foy was cast first, because that means the money was there for the taking, yet they saved it for the as-yet-unnamed man rather than paying their star. Even though she WAS a relative unknown at the time, it feels exploitative.

    • Nicole says:

      Agreed. Also it seems like Matt had no idea of the pay disparity either. Foy should’ve been paid more end of. But Matt wasn’t pulling a Mark where he held a movie hostage to get a million for a movie he’s not even the big name in.

      • megan says:

        Why should he pay it back? Unless he demanded to be paid more than her – I would guess his agents negotiated his salary.

        The show’s producers should pony up and match the pay. I’m sure they’ve made a lot of money on this show.

    • tealily says:


    • LadyT says:

      Yes to Una!

    • Honest B says:


    • bikki says:

      Yup, in agreement with you @Una.

  3. Swordspoint says:

    No, this is not on Matt. Producers, give Claire Foy a bonus. Done.

    • Astrid says:


      • Blinkbanana says:

        Speaking as a British agent, we are very rarely told what other cast members are getting on tv shows. She had zero profile when she was cast, he was the lead on a hugely successful international show. Of course he was paid more for season 1. But there should have been a renegotiation on season 2 and that is all on the producers. Everyone needs to stop having a go at Matt and the agents involved. You’re attacking the wrong people here. Negotiations are a bloody nightmare most of the time. Don’t always assume it’s because of nefarious reasons.

      • whispersjane says:


  4. minx says:

    Those corgis, I’m dying.

  5. stelly says:

    I agree that Matt Smith is in no way responsible for this. The producers should be the ones to pay if anyone. Or cut Claire another check! The reason that show was so popular is largely due to her amazing performance as Queen.

    • Another Anne says:

      Exactly this. And no whining that they’ll lose money. If they didn’t plan the pay rates fairly and profitably, that’s THEIR problem – not Matt’s.

      • Morning Coffee says:

        Agreed. And I still say that Matt Smith brought the name, at least in Season 1. He should have been paid more for his body of work at that time. I wonder if they locked in 2 year contracts? Claire should have renegotiated, but no way is this on Matt.

  6. Miss Gloss says:

    No, he shouldn’t. That’s ridiculous. I also don’t believe everyone should be paid equally. Some people have more experience. Some people are more qualified. I disagree with a giant disparity in pay, like the Mark Wahlberg situation was wrong. But, this will open a big can of worms and I don’t want to be paid the same as someone else if I’m more qualified.

  7. Michelle says:

    The corgis need a raise!!

  8. Margo S. says:

    The production company should pay the gap between smith and foy for the two year contract. Netflix should also pay a bug donation too.

    Enough if these confidential salaries. I want to know what everyone on every industry is making.

  9. mannori says:

    no, he shouldn’t, but those producers should pay Foy the the difference and even more than the difference for season 2 and on top of that they should donate to Time’s up and give proof that inclusion riders will be use for the next seasons. That should be, in a perfect world, what should happen.

  10. winosaurusrex says:

    I understand for the first season why he got more. I get it. he was a name in comparison. but for the second season? The producers should have given Claire a well deserved bump. They did not. That is not on Matt in any way shape or form.

    Would it be nice for him to donate? Sure. Why not? But trying to force him into it is just as bad. Matt did nothing wrong.

    Claire is absolutely amazing, and nothing will take away from that.

    • MissM says:

      They signed on for a two year contract. Claire’s team is also responsible here for not re negotiating her contract after the success of the first season.
      What Claire was initially paid however doesn’t mean that she didn’t get a bump after the second season and doesn’t include any bonuses she probably got. This is just designed to get a reaction out of people who don’t know anything about the situation.

      • Blinkbanana says:

        There will have been a negotiated uplift for season 2 set at a certain percentage, usually 3-5% of the previous season although I have seen 10% bumps. Also, hate to break it to you, but we’re not the same as hollywood AT ALL. The money on British projects is a lot less all round, and if they had not agreed to the final figure they would have moved onto another actor. She wasn’t known at the time and other than this being the lead role, would not have had a lot to battle back with in negotiations. There are a lot of assumptions flying around about this deal which are just deeply innacurate. There is no way ANY agent would have got her more than Matt on season 1.

    • Veronica says:

      Well, as a successful and powerful actress, why didn’t Claire demand more money? No one is going to give you what you deserve if you don’t demand it. She is at fault for settling for less than she is worth.

  11. PPP says:

    If anything should happen here, Left Bank should make up the difference and pay Foy a bonus. This is the absolute wrong move and does make a man who has done nothing wrong feel personally attacked. It undermines the legitimacy of the movement. It is bullying. It has no rationality behind it. If Matt Smith should be gone after for anything, it’s a comment, which is fair. Force men to reflect on the fruits of their privilege. Don’t shame a person for a fair negotiation. The idea of fair nation deals and equality riders was not a concept at the time negotiations were taking place.

    • Stella in NH says:

      I was just about to say that. Netflix and Left Bank should pony up the money to make up the difference between the two salaries. It’s not Matt’s fault that he was paid more.

    • Blinkbanana says:

      We have favoured nation deals in the UK but she wasn’t at the same experience level as him when they were negotiating. If he had been lesser known than he was, you’d have an argument.

  12. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    How about they simply cut another check for Claire?

  13. MustloveHAIM says:

    No. No one should be forced to donate their money. It was not his fault. He was the known actor before they started this while she was the lesser known actor so I understand why he got paid more but they should’ve given her a raise the second season since she carried this show very well and won awards.

  14. Plantpal says:

    Wait just one crazy moment….FORGET GENDER….One actor was substantially better known than another actor. One actor was a ‘name’ which was a ‘draw’ for that actor’s fan base, whilst the other actor was basically an ‘unknown’. Remember, they were making salary decisions without knowing if their show would be a flop or a hit. This is one of those instances where jumping on the bandwagon doesn’t make sense. I think everyone is overreacting and being overly sensitive. In this instance, standing on its own, I understand and appreciate the reasoning behind the pay differential. I don’t think it was based on sexism, I think it was based on business.

    • jammypants says:

      I agree, but better decisions should have been made by season 2.

      • Boxy Lady says:

        It sounds like you’re assuming that they signed 2 one year contracts instead of 1 two year contract. The producers and Netflix said from the beginning that the ultimate plan was to do 6 seasons with 3 sets of actors doing 2 seasons each. If they signed a two year deal, those contracts may have not left an opening for renegotiations after the first year.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Business is based on sexism though. And people are acting like Matt Smith was a household name. He was not in any way. And by season 2, that argument was gone. And since Netflix never releases any numbers, we will never know who watched The Crown. So who knows what Matt Smith did for the Show.

      But honestly, as soon as you worte “overreacting and overly sensitive”, you lost me. This is a discussion that needs to happen so if at some point, someone demands something that goes a little too far, that’s just par for the course.

      And he shouldn’t be pressured to donate anything.

    • Bridget says:

      But you can’t forget gender.

  15. Plantpal says:

    Wait just one crazy moment….FORGET GENDER….One actor was substantially better known than another actor. One actor was a ‘name’ which was a ‘draw’ for that actor’s fan base, whilst the other actor was basically an ‘unknown’. Remember, they were making salary decisions without knowing if their show would be a flop or a hit. This is one of those instances where jumping on the bandwagon doesn’t make sense. I think everyone is overreacting and being overly sensitive. In this instance, standing on its own, I understand and appreciate the reasoning behind the pay differential. I don’t think it was based on sexism, I think it was based on business.

    • Jayna says:

      I agree on the first season, but for the second season, after the popularity of the show, Claire’s salary should have gone up significantly. I don’t blame Matt, though.

  16. Jussie says:

    Of course he shouldn’t.

    His agents negotiated a fair salary for him. It’s not his fault Foy’s agents didn’t re-negotiate her contract. His getting paid more took nothing away from her, this wasn’t a tiny little show where there was only room in the budget for one large-ish salary. Left Bank and Sony and Netflix had deep enough pockets to pay them the same.

    Pressure the producers to donate, pressure Netflix, pressure Foy’s agents. Don’t pressure an actor who was simply paid a perfectly reasonable amount for his work.

  17. Ally says:

    No, whoever was in charge of pay for the show — the producers or Netflix — should retroactively pay the per-episode difference for every episode for both seasons to Claire Foy.

  18. FUBAR says:

    No he should not donate any of his money. He has an agent who was savy enough to get him a good deal. Netflix made the error. They should now go and pay the main character the money she deserves. It was Netflix error not the co star’s.

  19. lucy2 says:

    Not at all. If Matt wants to donate something, that’s awesome, but no, the petition is ridiculous.
    What SHOULD happen is that Claire Foy should get a bonus making her compensation equal to his, and THEN the production or whoever decided this should make an additional donation to Time’s Up.

  20. Mia4s says:

    Oh FFS no. That’s ridiculous. Look Matt Smith is far from poor and has far more money than you or I, but he is not Wahlberg wealthy in the least. He didn’t take advantage of anything, he just unknowingly was pulled into this. Absolute nonsense.

    Oh and I am 1000% fine with him getting paid more in the first season, let’s be clear. The problem was the lack of equalization in season 2.

  21. Jay says:

    No. Netflix, not Matt Smith, should be shamed into giving Claire Foy more money.

  22. JennyJazzhands says:

    Why should he have to donate? It would be nice but if they’re really sorry, they should just pay her the difference.

  23. Jenns says:

    Nope! He was paid his salary, and that’s not fair to penalize him for Netflix being punks. I do think Netflix should more than acknowledge their part and pay Claire at least equal pay for her 2 seasons. And then donate to a women’s charity.

  24. Mina says:

    This “demand” is so ridiculous, and coming from people that obviously don’t understand how the business works. Why should he have to apologize for earning what he deserved and donate part of his salary? He was the only “star power” at the start of that show, aside from Peter Morgan himself. If this was a regular industry, Claire Foy should have been paid more, yes, but at the time she was cast she was a virtual unknown. Now, thanks to her job in The Crown, she’ll be able to demand more money in her future projects.

  25. LP says:

    To those arguing Matt smith should have been paid more in the first season: surely the fact he was playing a supporting role counts for something? He was certainly the bigger name, but the show is about the queen! Therefore, equal pay from the get go to compensate.

  26. Adele Dazeem says:

    I just want to say how happy and relieved I am to come here to the comments section and see support for Matt and logical discourse. I’ve been so disappointed in people lately, it’s great to see celebitchers see the solution, not adding to the problem!

  27. Elysium1973 says:

    So here’s my random comment on this whole thing: I used to be really into the X Files and Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny and that whole world. Gillian is dating Peter Morgan, who is the writer and creator of The Crown. Gillian presents herself as this evolved feminist and was very vocal when Fox offered her less for season 10 of XF than they offered David. She (quite understandably) was furious and let it be known in the media. She’s incredibly problematic and drives me insane so I find it sort of hilarious that her boyfriend/partner is guilty of the exact same behavior she claims to abhor.

    • Ada says:

      I feel like I’m missing some context here. Why is Gillian Anderson so problematic? Are you suggesting that she’s a hypocrite because she doesn’t micro-manage her partner’s job? Or is it only ironic and schadenfreude-inducing?

    • Mina says:

      I don’t know why Gillian Anderson is problematic either, but one thing should be clarified and that is Peter Morgan (or any show creator) doesn’t decide who gets paid what. He created his show, but he’s another employee. It’s the agencies and production companies and/or studios who negotiate salaries. It’s not his role to be asking how much X and X got paid, that’s why actors have managers.

      • SJF says:

        Peter Morgan is the writer. He has no power over what the actors get paid.

        Input, on some level sure, but it’s not his decision.

  28. SJF says:

    This isn’t on the actors.

    It’s on the producers and the agents.

    Matt didn’t do anything wrong. The producers did

  29. Patty says:

    No, he shouldn’t. And whoever started that petition can have all the seats; as can anyone who signed it. It’s so silly. This is the kind of stuff that’s going to turn people off and make it hard to get male allies (which are needed since men control the purse strings for the most part in the entertainment industry). It’s going to make them clam up (i.e. no more producers talking about what they pay stars).

  30. Hannah says:

    No. Producers can pay her an equal salary and also match a donatation of both salaries to #timesup.

  31. Izzy says:

    Why? This is on Netflix. THEY should give Claire Foy backpay.