Claire Foy explains why she spoke out on The Crown pay gap

Westworld star Thandie Newton has called the revelation a ‘revolution' for actresses.

Claire Foy has revealed why she spoke out about the pay gap between her and her The Crown co-star Matt Smith.

The British actress’ Golden Globe-winning performance as a young Queen Elizabeth in the Netflix drama earned her less than Smith’s portrayal of the Duke of Edinburgh, producers revealed earlier this year.

Foy said she was proud of her role on the show but felt urged to offer an opinion following the revelations in a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter where she was joined by Thandie Newton who said the incident had sparked a “revolution” for actresses.

Thandie Newton (Matt Crossick/PA)
Thandie Newton said there had now been a shift at HBO (Matt Crossick/PA)

Foy told the US outlet: “I (could have) kept my mouth shut and said, ‘I have nothing to say, I’m a robot’.

“I was part of a really incredible show that I’m really proud of and grateful for, but that shouldn’t stop me from having an opinion about something that I have been brought into the centre of.

“It would be very different if it was something that I didn’t have an opinion on, but it’s something that I feel really strongly about and that I had a suspicion of.”

It comes after she previously said she felt “shame and embarrassment” by the revelation, but those feelings were nothing if it led to change for fellow actresses.


Westworld star Newton said there had now been a shift at HBO since The Crown controversy – a comment echoed by Maggie Gyllenhaal who was also present at the roundtable.

“That’s what’s happened with HBO now because of what (happened on your) show. They’re now having all the men and women (making) equal pay. It’s a revolution,” Newton said.

The Crown Season 2 Premiere – London
Claire Foy with The Crown co-star Matt Smith (Ian West/PA)

Gyllenhaal added: “It’s true. That’s a place where honestly there was so much talk, and where was the action?

“And then I just get a call going over the bridge to Brooklyn saying my salary now is way higher than I ever considered it would be, and it’s because of these conversations.

“At first, I was like, ‘Wait, this is not fair. Why do I get to win the lottery?’ And then I went, ‘No, it’s been unfair to the point where I’ve digested it and accepted it without ever considering that it could or should be equal’.”

Foy and Smith played the royal couple for the first two series of The Crown but will be replaced by Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies for the third series.

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