Around a year ago, news broke that The Crown's Claire Foy was paid considerably less per episode than her male co-star, Matt Smith, despite having more screen time. It caused such a controversy that Netflix decided to investigate – and remedy – pay gaps on its other shows.
Gaping pay gaps in movies and TV shows are nothing new, of course, and in a new interview former Game of Thrones star and Tony-winning stage actress Dame Diana Rigg has spoken about her own pay gap battle, which took place way back in the '60s.
Rigg played the iconic swingin' sixties role of Emma Peel on TV's The Avengers from 1965-1968, earning two Emmy nominations for her performance. However, she eventually learned that her pay hardly reflected her growing fame and status in the industry.
"Not one woman in the industry supported me when I demanded more money after finding out the cameraman on The Avengers was paid a lot more than me," the actress told The Guardian.
"Neither did Patrick [Macnee, Rigg’s co-star], though I never held it against him, I adored him. But I was painted as this mercenary creature by the press when all I wanted was equality. It’s so depressing that we are still talking about the gender pay gap."
Rigg is absolutely right. The fact that actresses today are facing the same battle that Rigg took on 50 years ago really is depressing.
In 2017, Dame Joan Collins revealed that she fought for equal pay during her tenure on hugely popular '80s TV show Dynasty. But when TV executives finally agreed to pay her nearly as much per episode as her male co-star, John Forsythe, they cut the number of episodes she appeared in, which meant she actually ended up out of pocket.
"The last series they finally gave me a raise," Collins told ITV's Lorraine Kelly. "I became a very high paying actress but they only put me in eight out of the 12 episodes so I lost money - and he still got $5,000 a week more than I did. I tried! I tried but now people like Jennifer Lawrence and other young actresses are standing up for it.”