As Hollywood begins to heal and course-correct to become a more inclusive place, pay gaps continue to be exposed. The Crown, the beloved Netflix series detailing the U.K. monarchy’s history, is the latest program to be outed as sexist. Last week, it was revealed that stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith, who play Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, receive different compensation for their roles. Foy, who has more screen time than Smith, is paid less than him, although exactly how much is being kept under wraps. Today, however, the show’s producers have issued a statement, and it is seemingly in defense of 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,” says the statement given to Deadline. “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 statement is no doubt in response to a Care2 petition demanding that Smith and Netflix give the difference in salaries to Time’s Up, a movement and nonprofit that provides victims of sexism and sexual misconduct with legal defense funds. “You know gender pay gaps are a problem when even the Queen isn’t paid fairly,” says the petition, which, at this moment, has amassed 26,626 out of its 30,000 desired signatures and comes in the wake of a similar petition that pressured Mark Wahlberg to donate his pay for All the Money in the World reshoots—for which co-star Michelle Williams received dramatically less money for completing the same work—to Time’s Up. (Wahlberg eventually obliged.)