The Crown made headlines when the wage gap between series star Claire Foy and Doctor Who veteran Matt Smith was revealed, and now the production company behind the Emmy-winning series is speaking out.
In a statement obtained by E! News, Left Bank Pictures apologized to its stars. Foy played Queen Elizabeth II for the first two seasons of the Netflix series. Smith portrayed her on-screen husband, Prince Philip.
"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. 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," Left Bank Pictures said in a statement.
"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 producers continued.
"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; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice," Left Bank Pictures concluded.
The gender wage gap was revealed during the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. Left Bank creative director Suzanne Mackie said Smith made more than Foy because of his Doctor Who fame. "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," Mackie said at the time, according to Variety.
After the disparity was revealed fans launched a petition calling on Smith to donate the difference between his and Foy's salary to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. As of publishing time, the petition had more than 25,000 signatures.
The Crown will return, but with a new cast. Olivia Colman will play Queen Elizabeth in seasons three and four of Netflix's royal drama.