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Angelica Ross Got Backlash From Ryan Murphy For Tweeting About On-Set Racism

Angelica Ross Got Backlash From Ryan Murphy For Tweeting About On-Set Racism

angelica ross and ryan murphy

The Pose and American Horror Story star said that she felt like she was being silenced when asked to take down a tweet saying she dealt with racism on set.

Angelica Ross has been standing up for herself for years.

Pose and American Horror Story star Angelica Ross recently went public with mistreatment she faced from those shows’ creator Ryan Murphy and others while she was filming them. Now, she’s revealing that it went even further.

When Ross was filming AHS: 1984, she says that a crewmember would show up on set every day with racist shirts that said things like “Build That Wall” and “I Don’t Kneel.” When she complained, she was told it was a freedom of speech issue and they couldn’t do anything.

At this point, Ross tweeted about her frustration. “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,” she wrote.

This is when Murphy finally paid attention.

“No less than maybe 10 seconds, my phone rings,” Ross said to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s Tanase Popa, one of the producers, and he’s telling me, ‘Ryan Murphy thinks you should take that tweet down. Things are being handled, and he considers us a family, and we don’t share things outside the family.’”

“I said, ‘What does it mean that it’s being handled? He’s still on set and they’re still asking me to come out of my trailer. So what has been handled?’” she continued. “And he’s like, ‘I hear you. It’s just that these situations are difficult.’ I said, ‘OK, fine, I’ll take down the tweet. But just so you know, I’m being told that this man wearing these T-shirts has freedom of speech, but I’m the one being told to take down a tweet. I feel like I’m being silenced.’”

Then Murphy called her.

“He starts off: ‘What’s your f*cking problem?! Are you serious?!’” Ross recalled. “He goes, ‘You think that I would f*cking silence you after all I’ve done and I’ve been an advocate and done nothing but uplift trans Black women?”

“After he finishes. I say, ‘Ryan, that’s not what’s going on here. First of all, the situation has not been handled. The guy is still on set,’” Ross continued. “And I told him, I said, ‘I do all this work out here. Ever since I’ve been on Pose, your white actors aren’t clocking in like we’re clocking in. We have to go out there now because Pose is this big show. And you’re saying that Pose is not just entertainment, it’s an act of advocacy. You’re not calculating that you have turned your actors also into advocates.’”

“Indya Moore and myself have always been the ones who opened up our mouths and spoke, and Ryan said that was one of the things that he liked about me,” Ross added. “And so 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.”

THR reached out to Ryan Murphy Productions, and got a response from AHS co-executive producer Tanase Popa.

“Ryan was directing that day on another project. Somebody had told him that Angelica had posted on Twitter and he said, ‘Can you go check with Angelica because she should come to us instead of just going to Twitter?’” Popa said. “I had called Angelica. She put me on speakerphone while she was in the van. Emma Roberts and John Gray were also in the van. My conversation with her was, ‘Hey, I just wanted to check in. Ryan heard that you posted on Twitter. I spoke with John Gray. He’s in the process of dealing with it with HR and labor relations. But if something happens, please come to us. I’m right by Ryan when he’s directing. I can get him easily, but it’s better to come to us. We can actually implement a solution than going to Twitter and just broadcasting this.’”

“She then said, ‘You are silencing me.’ And I 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.’ She said, ‘OK, fine, I’m going to take down the post, but I feel like I’m being silenced. This is my role as an activist and I’m going to take the post down.’” Popa continued. “And I said, ‘OK, I’m going to go back to set and get Ryan to call you back.’ She says he called her within ‘seconds.’ 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?’ He basically said, ‘I don’t understand why you would go to Twitter instead of coming to us.‘”

Ross has said that she’s leaving Hollywood after all of this mistreatment and tokenization. She told THR that she is moving back to Georgia, where she is from, and plans on running for office.

“I’ve been consulting with Renitta Shannon, a former Georgia state representative who also just recently ran for lieutenant governor. I go into candidate and campaign training next month. I have also been speaking with folks like Bruce Franks Jr., who is also a Black politician from Missouri who shook the table. So I’m fully walking away from Hollywood. But I’m always going to be who I am. You don’t have to be on TV to be a creative person, to live a creative life.”

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Mey Rude

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.