The entertainment complex in our country loves nothing better than to lecture us on how to comport our personal and professional lives. One of the things they hate to do is apply their own standards to their lives and business operations.
Look at how the industry that loves to call swaths of this nation “racist” recently endured the “Oscars So White” controversy. Note how those who love to provoke the charge of a conservative “War On Women” are currently rocked by a broadening sex abuse scandal. And all the while those who complain about a gender pay discrepancy continue to be exposed as frauds due to short-changing actresses.
The latest example comes from the Netflix show “The Crown”. The producers, in discussing the makeover of the show for season three, let it be known recently that actress Claire Foy, while playing the role of The Queen, had been paid less than her co-star Matt Smith. The British production company Left Bank has come out and apologized to both stars for the controversy that has erupted.
The essential reason for this difference in pay? Leading into the production Smith was a more acknowledged acting name, having come off of three seasons starring as “Dr. Who”. While Foy was an established actress she had not been regarded as highly. Smith was seen as more of a draw, and thus worthy of a higher pay scale.
In a now usual reaction to this revelation an activist group has sprung up to help out with this problem — by making a money grab for its own benefit. In declaring concern over the pay gap on “The Crown” a petition sprung up, but rather than trying to have the actress Foy receive compensation the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund commands that Matt Smith donate the difference in their pay to their organization.
I’m sure Claire Foy feels relieved.
This is the kind of imbalanced thinking the activist set loves to employ. Smith has done nothing wrong here; to lash out at him and suggest he pony-up cash is as wrong-headed as it gets. The blame for any of this rests with the production company, and with Foy’s agent for not doing a better job. For their part Left Bank is trying to say all the correct things in order to elide much blame.
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.
But what will the company do to alleviate the problem?! Why, they will deliver all the appropriate virtue signaling, of course!
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. 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 Time’s Up UK, organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.
The “problem” is being addressed by the production company. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Left Bank creative director and executive producer Suzanne Mackie said at a news conference. Slight issue: The entire cast is being replaced for the upcoming seasons. So, in the end, the actress who has been financially slighted and is the catalyst for all this change will not see a single benefit from all the corrections.
Meanwhile Smith is expected to pay reparations, for a non-violation which he did not commit, and Claire Foy is still left without proper compensation. Well done Hollywood — way to show us the way on these social matters.