The producers of The Crown are saying sorry to both Claire Foy and Matt Smith, after the two actors found themselves in the headlines last week over a gender pay scandal.
During the INTV Conference in Jerusalem, Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries, producers of the Netflix drama, revealed that Foy was paid less for her role as Queen Elizabeth II than her male counterpart, Smith, who portrayed Prince Philip. The producers explained that the pay difference was due to Smith's Doctor Who fame, while Foy hadn't had a high-profile role before The Crown.
Some fans were outraged after the news, and a Care2 petition was started asking Smith to donate the difference in their paychecks to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. As of press time, the petition has been signed by more than 25,000 people.
In a statement obtained by ET on Tuesday, Left Bank pictures, which produces The Crown, issued an apology to its stars.
“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," the statement reads. "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," the statement continues. "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.”
During the INTV Conference, Mackie said that going forward, "no one gets paid more than the queen." However, 33-year-old Foy won't be able to get equally compensated on The Crown as the actors have completed their time on the series. Season three will have Olivia Colman step in as the queen, and Helena Bonham Carter will take on the role of Princess Margaret. No actor has yet to replace 35-year-old Smith.
Foy has received multiple accolades for her role as Queen Elizabeth II on the Netflix hit, including a Golden Globe and two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards.
ET chatted with Foy and Smith at the Golden Globes in January, where they reacted to Carter's casting.