As the groundswell beneath the Time's Up movement reached fever pitch in Hollywood last year, the shocking pay gap between the stars of wildly popular series The Crown was exposed.
It didn't help that Netflix's royal drama, billed as the "most expensive TV show ever made" (until Game of Thrones' final season stole the crown), had a record-breaking budget of $20.6 million per episode for its first two seasons — highlighting just how deep the studio's pockets were, reports News.com.au.
Until the end of season two, Claire Foy starred in the show as Queen Elizabeth II, with Doctor Who's Matt Smith playing her husband, Prince Philip.
In February last year, it was revealed that British production company Left Bank Pictures had been playing Foy's male co-star a higher salary, despite the fact she was literally playing the titular character.
The shocking revelation about Foy and Smith's salaries was made by producer Suzanne Mackie during a panel discussion as reported by Variety .
Mackie and her fellow producers acknowledged that Smith did earn more for The Crown due to his Doctor Who fame, but vowed that future seasons of the show would see that pay gap closed.
"Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," said Mackie.
With all eyes on Hollywood as the impact of Time's Up and the Me Too movement unfolded, outcry over The Crown's gender pay gap was swift and deafening.
The actress was reportedly earning $60,500 per episode for her 20-episode run — and while Smith's salary has never been revealed, it's understood to have been significantly higher.
Following the backlash, Foy told Entertainment Weekly: "I'm surprised because I'm at the centre of it, and anything that I'm at the centre of like that is very, very odd, and feels very, very out of ordinary.
"But I'm not (surprised about the interest in the story) in the sense that it was a female-led drama," she said.
"I'm not surprised that people saw (the story) and went, 'Oh, that's a bit odd.'
"But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it's odd to find yourself at the centre (of a story) that you didn't particularly ask for."
As pressure mounted, producers were reported to have given Foy a huge sum of around $365,000 in back pay to put her and Smith's salaries at parity.
Around that time, Smith spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, voicing his relief that the matter had been rectified.
"I support (Foy) completely, and I'm pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that's what needed to happen," Smith said.
"Going forward, I think we should all bear in mind that we need to strive to make this better and a more even playing field for everyone involved — but not just in our industry, in all industries."
It seemed like it had all been resolved — until a few months later, when Foy rubbished the report entirely.
"That was what was reported, that I was back-paid," the actress told Dubai-based news channel Al Arabiya in July 2018.
"I've never mentioned anything about it and neither have the producers. The fact that that is 'fact' is — not quite correct."
She added that the media storm surrounding the story was an "odd place to find yourself in."
"It happened at the same time as it was coming out with a lot of other people that there was a lot of pay inequality across the board — in the music industry, in journalism, in every industry. It's across the board that it became part of a bigger conversation," Foy said.
"I realised early on that me being quiet about it or me not thinking about it in any way, and not associating myself with it, would be harmful to me and also lots of other people.
"It's taught me a lot, and I'm still learning about it. I have not come out the other side and know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm still learning as much as anybody else is."
It's unknown whether or not the back pay issue has yet been rectified.
For the third series of The Crown, all the main characters have been recast.
Olivia Colman is set to step into Foy's role as the Queen, Outlander star Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter has been cast as Princess Margaret.