Actor Matt Smith just debuted his new biopoc, Mapplethorpe, at Tribeca this week. Not sure any of you remember but I’ve really been looking forward to this film. Right now the reviews are mixed but I’m still hopeful.
While he was promoting Mapplethorpe, Matt was asked about the pay disparity issue that happened on The Crown. Matt, who had a decent career and most notably had served as the Eleventh Doctor on Dr. Who, was paid significantly more than the formerly-not-well-known Claire Foy for the series. But Claire played the queen in a mini-series specifically about The Crown. When the disparity was brought to light, the production company, Left Bank, issued an apology to both Claire and Matt and Netflix promised that going forward, “No one will be paid more than the queen.” People had lots of thoughts on all of this, including that Matt should donate his salary to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Well, now we have Matt’s thoughts. He said that it was wrong but it’s all been put right. Huzzah! But has it?
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.”
Neither Netflix nor Claire have responded as of this writing. Of course, everyone wants to know – what amends were made? Because reading what Matt said, it sounds like Claire got a bonus check to make up the difference. Color me jaded, but I think if a network did that, they would blanket the media with that information. Netflix looked terrible when this all came to light. I still think they pressured Left Bank to make the apology to take some of the heat off them. So, by “amends” I think Matt just means that Olivia Coleman and all the other Queens that will take that role will be paid appropriately.
To clarify, I don’t doubt that Claire and Matt are close. I also don’t think it was Matt’s responsibility to make it right with Claire. My guess is he found out about it when the rest of us did. He probably wants to disassociate himself with this whole thing, especially when he’s taken such a risk with this Mapplethorpe part. If, however, there was no monetary compensation to Claire, he’s likely opened up a can of worms for himself, kind of like he did in his #MeToo comments. And I feel bad for him because like his MeToo comments, I really don’t think that was his intention.
Photo credit: WENN Photos
This is why we should all be more open about our salaries – the only people who benefit from secrecy around people’s salaries are employers. I know it is considered ‘impolite’ to talk about it, and that there are also contractual and legal issues in many cases – but the secrecy around pay is what consistently allows employers to get away with this shit – in all industries.
Every text book relative to my business degree agrees with you. If we want transparency and pay equality, let’s start talking!
Ok, that last photo – i finally see it. He has always looked odd to me, like one big, heavy brow ridge that’s trying to swallow up his eyes. But that last pic, I can see the attractiveness. Something about the haircut projecting forward softens the harshness of his brow ridge. And I’m a huge fan of the Doctor and the Crown. (OMG – Can you imagine that mashup as a series/SNL sketch?)
He’s what I call “geeky hot.” There’s a mix of charming and odd to his features.
I know I’m in the minority but it seems Matt should have been paid more in the beginning. I don’t watch the show but my understanding is that Matt was a much bigger star and Claire was unknown. Male or female the bigger star usually gets paid more. After the first season Claire should have gotten more since she clearly was the breakout. Up to this point It doesn’t sound like she was compensated. Just the statement that the Queen will get paid more in the future. I also don’t like that people think male actors should compensate production companies and studios. It’s one thing to stand up for female co-stars but I think it’s unfair they are put in the position of giving up their salaries. It lets the studio/production off the hook since they don’t have to give up any funds and probably won’t do equal pay because people put pressure on the actor to give up their pay. There’s no reason for them to change.
I think most people acknowledge that in the first season pay is usually based on who is the bigger star and here he most certainly was. However, after she won all the accolades and awards her salary should have, at the very least, been made commiserate with his for the second season – perhaps even slightly more.
I was a big Claire Foy fan before The Queen series, but not a massive Matt Smith fan as I cannot stand Dr Who. I find it galling that the lead actor/actress on whatever series or movie is paid less due to gender.
I knew her and not him when I started watching The Crown. I first saw her in Upstairs Downstairs (Eileen Atkins is also in this one) and then Wolf Hall. I’ve watched the very first episode of Doctor Who three times maybe? I’ve never gotten past that one.
Did we ever find out what the difference was? I could see a slightly higher first season payment for him as he was the bigger name, but given the success of the show and her awards, a bonus was in order, and a higher salary in season 2.
I’m not really a fan of Matt, but none of this was his fault, and the calls for him to donate his salary were misplaced, IMO.
The outrage over his MeToo comments is ridiculous. He was talking about Hollywood behind closed doors. Whilst in normal life men and women have vastly different experiences of objectification, in Hollywood, I don’t think they are so far apart. It’s like male and female models – they will BOTH be subject to huge amounts of coercion and abuse behind the scenes.
Terry Crews got tons of criticism from the black community over his comments (I saw black men clowning him on twitter). And Bryan Singer has basically gotten away with his ALLEGED crimes. Many men may be staying silent about abuse due to homophobia. The rumors about the music industry are RIFE yet no ALLEGED male victim of Russell Simmons has come forward. There are ALLEGEDLY more male victims than female ones.
My point is: you have no idea what he is aware of or has seen. The “rumors” and “blind items” that are currently being solved and verified in the news everyday paint Hollywood as a dark and sick place that exploits both men and women pretty regularly. There’s something disappointing about how this movement is trying to silence male victims and male abuse as if that somehow hurts women.
I appreciate you’re comments. Too often all men are being lumped into the same box and not all men should be in that box
I would actually think systemic oppression is actually exacerbated in power hierarchies like Hollywood, rather than attenuated by financial disparities. Are men victims of exploitation and abuse? Sure. But the majority of economic and political power is still concentrated in the hands of white men in Western culture, regardless of the community we’re discussing. Discussing men as individual victims of abuse is an entirely different issue than discussing maleness and whiteness as an institution of social power. The aggressive dominance inherent to American power hierarchies is a function of the patriarchal and imperialist culture that shaped it.
Agree. I think both times he had good intentions and just a bad wording