The Crown producers have apologized to Claire Foy and Matt Smith for putting them through a media storm by revealing the actress got paid less than her co-star.
The pay equality controversy kicked off last week (ends18Mar18) when the show's executive producers, Susie Mackie and Andy Harries from Left Bank Pictures, made the admission during a panel event in Jerusalem, noting that Matt, who plays Prince Philip, earned more because he was a bigger name than Claire, who has won awards for playing Queen Elizabeth II, thanks to his role in Doctor Who.
The pay disparity led to the creation of a Care2 petition calling for Matt to donate the difference in their salaries to the Time's Up movement, which campaigns against gender inequality and sexual harassment.
The producers have now issued a statement apologizing to the actors for the furor they created.
"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," the Left Bank statement read. "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.
"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."
They continued to explain that they understand and appreciate the conversation being had about the pay gap and said they were "absolutely united" in the fight for fair pay without gender bias for both cast and crew.
"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," they concluded, adding that they are in conversation with ERA 50:50, or Equal Representation for Actresses, and were hoping to talk to the U.K. branch of Time's Up.
Matt and Claire have yet to comment on the controversy.