A Royal inequality: wage gap in the Netflix series The Crown

Claire Foy, lead actress of the Netflix series 'The Crown', says she has not received compensation for salary gap between her and her colleague Matt Smith

A Royal inequality: wage gap in the Netflix series The Crown

In March of this year, Variety reported that the producers of the highly acclaimed series "The Crown" claimed that the actress Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth II, received less compensation than her colleague Matt Smith, who plays her husband, Prince Phillip. The public response was to demand that Smith donate the difference of his salary to the actress to ensure equal pay. Then, in April, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the producers would compensate Foy with $ 274,000. Last week, Foy, in an interview with the media Al Arabiya, said that although her compensation had been news, she has not received it yet.

Leer en español: Una desigualdad Real: brecha salarial en la serie de Netflix The Crown

The Serie

'The Crown' is one of the most expensive television series in history. According to Reuters, the first season cost 130 million dollars. It is about the life of Queen Elizabeth II since the death of her father. The queen is, undoubtedly, the protagonist of the series. While there are chapters in which the character of Prince Phillip is a protagonist, there are others, very few, in which almost does not appear. Foy also won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for her portrayal of the queen. It is curious, considering the concern shown in the series on gender issues. Prince Philip, whom Smith plays, is burdened by living in the shadow of his wife, the queen. His masculinity is attacked when he must kneel before his wife at the coronation. In the series, we see how he can not stand that his wife is more powerful than him. This series, which puts the drama of the Queen's spouse in such high complexity and also shows us the gray areas of the matter, does not consider the equality for which we see the characters suffering on the screen.

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The chivalry

The solution proposed by fans of the series has a precedent in the case of Michelle Williams and Mark Walhberg, in which the actor, upon learning of the salary difference with his colleague, donated the equivalent value to such a difference. The actress Emma Stone has repeated in different interviews that her co-stars often lower their salaries to guarantee equal pay. This chivalry, however, is not what the actresses claim, nor will it lower the wage difference indexes between genders.

The issue is, on the one hand, that women in the entertainment industry usually charge less. After the hack to Sony in 2014, Jennifer Lawrence learned that she charged far less than her male castmates in the movie 'American Hustle'. Then, the actress published a letter in Lena Dunham's Newsletter explaining why she charged less. She says there is a pressure on women not to be "difficult", there is a fear that they will not hire you anymore. She also affirms that she has never seen any of her male colleagues worried about this, and that is why she will not do it anymore. The letter ends up demanding equal pay.

Stories about women

According to 5050 by 2020, a group that monitors these issues in the entertainment industry and aims to achieve equity in Hollywood by 2020, 76% of writers on all platforms and 96% of film directors are men. Thus, women are poorly represented in the industry. In recent years, however, there has been a growth in the numbers of films and series starring women, among which, of course, is counted to 'The Crown'. You can, then, start by telling stories of women, but also by treating those who give life to those characters with the dignity they deserve and that the stories claim.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón

Translated from "Una desigualdad Real: brecha salarial en la serie de Netflix The Crown"