Back pay for queen as “The Crown” closes gender wage gap

Claire Foy, left, and Matt Smith pose at the premiere of season two of the Netflix series 'The Crown," in London. (AP)
Updated 30 April 2018
0

Back pay for queen as “The Crown” closes gender wage gap

  • Claire Foy was reportedly paid less than her male co-star Matt Smith
  • Actor who played Queen Elizabeth II will receive $274,000 in backpay

LONDON: It cam as a shock to many when it was revealed that “The Crown” star Claire Foy was paid less than her male co-star Matt Smith, and it caused a royal scandal last month as the latest example of sexism in the entertainment industry.
It appears now, however, that the award-winning actor will receive back pay for her performance as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, as the makers of the acclaimed Netflix drama seek to close the gender pay gap.
It was unknown how big the pay gap between herself and Smith was, with the wages for the actor playing Prince Philip in the first two seasons of the hit show undisclosed, but media reports said Foy would get about $274,000 in back pay.
“The Crown,” a series about the British royal family, is one of the most expensive television shows ever produced, with the first season costing a reported $130 million.
When details of the pay gap emerged last month, the producers attributed it to Smith’s six-year stint as the star of “Dr. Who,” one of Britain’s most popular television shows.
They did not give details of the gap and said they would rectify it in the future.
Foy, 33, won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for her nuanced portrayal of Britain’s monarch in the 1950s and 1960s.
Other actors will take on the roles of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in season three of the show, as the characters age and the story moves into the 1970s.
The ongoing disparity between men and women is reflected in annual lists published by Forbes magazine. In 2017, Emma Stone topped the best-paid actress list with $26 million, while Mark Wahlberg was the highest paid man with $68 million in estimated annual earnings.
Wahlberg made news earlier this year when it was revealed that he was paid $1.5 million for reshoots on movie “All the Money in the World” while co-star Michelle Williams got $1,000.
Wahlberg later donated his salary to Time’s Up, the campaign against workplace sexual misconduct.


Cirque du Soleil in Saudi Arabia: The perfect tribute to a rich culture

Crique du Soleil in Riyadh. (Arab News)
Updated 24 September 2018
0

Cirque du Soleil in Saudi Arabia: The perfect tribute to a rich culture

  • Crique du Soleil created a spectacular show in Riyadh
  • They paid tribute to Saudi culture and heritage

RIYADH: The circus — a place that is almost synonymous with joy and delight. Since time immemorial, circuses have been places of celebration and glee, and few as much as the premier name in the industry: Cirque du Soleil.

The show has had a devoted fan in me since 2006, when I attended a performance of their production “Quidam” and my definition of the word “circus” was turned upside-down. Their unique approach to art, performance, costumes and music has secured their status as a household name and a benchmark for all other circus shows to be measured against.

On Sunday night, Saudi Arabia’s National Day, the circus brought their incredible acrobatics to Riyadh’s King Fahad Stadium and it turned out to be a night to remember.



Prior to the event, Cirque’s Vice President of Creation Daniel Fortin offered little in the way of spoilers but hinted that we would see something the likes of which we never had before. With the promises of exclusive new acts, music, costumes and stage tricks piquing my excitement, I joined a throng of green-and white-clad spectators flooding the stadium. Performing to a sold-out crowd, the show kicked off at exactly 8.30 p.m. and the magic truly began.

Barely five minutes into the show, something stole over me as I settled into the rhythm of the music, something I saw flickering over the faces of those in the crowd around me: Recognition. We were seeing ourselves, our identity, echoed back at us, but with a twist. We saw ourselves through someone else’s eyes — someone respectful and admiring.



As a Saudi youth today, it has become an unfortunately common occurrence to face negativity from various outsiders, born of ignorance or fear. It has become dreary and repetitive to have to continually defend my people and my culture from those who have no wish to understand us.

But at this show? I saw my country once more through the eyes of an outsider, but this time, it was different. I saw my culture and my heritage lauded, celebrated, delicately fused with that tangible Cirque du Soleil flair. The attention to detail was careful, almost loving, but also daring and outlandish. It was a glorious fusion of classic Saudi aesthetics with the ethereal, bizarre beauty of Cirque du Soleil.


The symbolism was not always obvious, sometimes it was subtle, constrained to the beat of a drum or hidden in a snatch of song. Other times, it was blatant and bold, in the sloping hump of an elegantly clumsy camel costume, or the billowing of the Bedouin Big Top in the gentle breeze. And yet, unmistakeably, I felt the Saudi influences in every note of the performance. It felt like an homage, and yet it did nothing to diminish its own identity. It remained unquestionably a Cirque du Soleil performance, only below the usual circus frippery, there was a ribbon of something else that lay coiled beneath the surface. Something bright, vibrant green. Saudi green.

The spectacle rounded off with an astonishing display of fireworks, so plentiful that for a moment, the sky glowed bright as day. To me, each one felt like a promise fulfilled. A dream achieved. A miracle witnessed. Here, on my own home soil, it was the perfect tribute to a rich and vivid culture.