After a week of calling out “Pose” and “American Horror Story” executive producer Ryan Murphy, Angelica Ross has shared her salary and claimed that Murphy cursed her out after the production team “silenced her.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she also reiterates she is done with Hollywood and reveals she is moving to Georgia and going into politics.
The dispute with Murphy happened over a series of T-shirts a crew member was wearing. Ross described the shirts as “racist” and said they contained slogans such as “Build That Wall” and “I Don’t Kneel.”
One day while Ross was trying to focus on her scene, the shirts became too much for her. She left the scene, went into a production van and vowed she wasn’t going to come out until the man took off his shirt or turned it inside out. Producer John J. Gray later told Ross the shirts were a freedom-of-speech issue and that production couldn’t do anything about them. This prompted Ross to tweet, “It’s a shame that I do all this work out in the world on anti-Blackness and racism and have to come to a set and do the same work.”
Initially, executive producer Tanase Popa called Ross, asked her to take down the tweet and told her the situation was being handled.
“Two seconds later, Ryan Murphy calls me directly. So he was probably there for the whole conversation. He starts off not, ‘Are you OK?’ Not, ‘What’s going on?’” Ross said. “He starts off: ‘What’s your f–king problem?! Are you serious?!’ He goes, “You think that I would f–king silence you after all I’ve done and I’ve been an advocate and done nothing but uplift trans Black women?’”
Popa has disputed this account of what happened. According to Popa, after Ross accused him of “silencing” her, Popa said, “‘I am not silencing. You can post or say whatever you want, but what I’m saying is we should follow the proper protocol so that we can actually implement a solution on set instead of just going to Twitter first.’”
He also disputes that Murphy called her back “two seconds later,” instead claiming the conversation happened after about 10 minutes.
“Ryan was in the middle of several takes, and it took about 10 minutes. He then called her, he stepped outside. I was next to him. His assistant Sara Stelwagen was next to him and we did not hear him cuss at her or say, ‘After all I’ve done for you, why would you do this?’” Popa said in his statement. “He basically said, ‘I don’t understand why you would go to Twitter instead of coming to us.’”
When asked for comment, a representative for Ryan Murphy pointed TheWrap toward the comments Popa shared with The Hollywood Reporter.
After their conversation, Ross pointed out to Murphy that she was being asked to act as both an advocate and an actor after her work on “Pose.” “To co-opt that energy only so that he can wield my essence whenever he wants to take me out of his actor toolbox, it’s just another form of tokenization. Because he doesn’t really mean what he says that he means,” Ross said in the interview.
The former “AHS” star said that Murphy later agreed with her and apologized, emphasizing that he wanted to be her “biggest champion.”
Ross also shared that she was originally offered $28,000 an episode to appear on “American Horror Story.” After countering with $50,000, she threatened to walk away. Afterward, she was given a “significant bump” in pay, which is why she agreed to sign onto the series.
After sharing that she was “leaving Hollywood” earlier this week, Ross plans to return to her home state of Georgia and transition to a career in politics. Over the course of her acting career, Ross starred in “Pose,” the “1984” and “Double Feature” seasons of “American Horror Story,” “Transparent,” “Claws” and “Danger and Eggs.”