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Netflix Admits to Paying ‘The Crown’s Queen Elizabeth Less Than Prince Philip

Although it’s been an oncoming issue, Hollywood’s equal wage issue erupted earlier this year, after whistleblowers initiated a Google spreadsheet that revealed the deep-rooted wage discrepancies in the entertainment industry. Like television writers and producers, actors aren’t immune to wage inequality. Following the news that Michelle Williams earned 1,500 times less than her co-star Mark Wahlberg (where Williams basically had to save the day in the wake of Kevin Spacey’s allegations), Netflix apparently didn’t get the hint that women want pay parity. The company just admitted to paying Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown (i.e. the backbone of the series), was paid less than her co-star Matt Smith.

While Foy donned royal garments for two seasons of The Crown, Vanity Fair explains that she didn’t make as much as her costar Smith, who played Prince Philip. Although Foy hasn’t starred on the show since season 2, Netflix and the show’s creative director are just now acknowledging this issue.

Suzanne Mackie, the creative director of the show, reveals to NBC News that Smith was paid more than Foy because he was more famous, due to his role on Doctor Who. Regardless of Smith’s notoriety before The Crown, the television series still focused on the Queen, and subsequently Foy. (After all, it doesn’t really make sense to pay an actress who portrayed a titular role less than the supporting character.)

Though Smith may have won a bulkier paycheck from this gig at Netflix, the Huffington Post explains that Foy won a Golden Globe for her performance in The Crown (which, TBH, should prove that fame shouldn’t be the prevailing criteria of an actor’s salary).

Nevertheless, Mackie is attempting to amend this injustice, telling Variety, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.” After all, it only makes sense that Foy should have the most substantial salary—seeing as the show is about Queen Elizabeth, so there wouldn’t be a show without the actress who plays the Queen.

Because the show will no longer star Foy, a lot of fans believe this is a lackluster gesture to try to stifle this controversy aren’t amused by Netflix’s gesture.

One Twitter user writes, “Imagine playing the Queen in a show called ‘The Crown’ and getting paid less than your male counterpart…! Shame on you Netflix!”

Whereas, another person tweeted, “and Netflix needs to give Claire Foy the appropriate credit. The Crown is a huge success today because of her. it was Foy’s performance of Queen Elizabeth that made this show happen, nothing else. she deserves a fucking huge salary for that.”

Still, The Crown fans aren’t the only ones who aren’t enthralled with Netflix’s attempt to fix the gender-wage gap. While the Queen herself (Foy) hasn’t commented on this issue, actresses have spoken up about pay equity for years, and for good reason. As The New York Times explains, Netflix is recasting the show as it prepares for the third season, which won’t help Foy attain her well-deserved raise.

According to Vanity Fair, the entertainment industry’s quoting system is defiantly organized to pay women less than their male costars. Though not everyone is convinced that Netflix plans to pay the queens of the company what they deserve, we hope that the company will adopt an equal pay system across all their productions.

Chelsea is the Health Editor and How She Got There Editor for Her Campus. In addition to editing articles about mental health, women's health and physical health, Chelsea contributes to Her Campus as a Feature Writer, Beauty Writer, Entertainment Writer and News Writer. Some of her unofficial, albeit self-imposed, responsibilities include arguing about the Oxford comma, fangirling about other writers' articles, and pitching Her Campus's editors shamelessly nerdy content (at ambiguously late/early hours, nonetheless). When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she is probably drawing insects, painting with wine or sobbing through "Crimson Peak." Please email any hate, praise, tips, or inquiries to cjackscreate@gmail.com