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Angelica Ross Has Receipts

Angelica Ross and Ryan Murphy. Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Getty Images

Angelica Ross, the actress known for starring in two Ryan Murphy projects, Pose and American Horror Story, is cleaning out, and her AHS collaborators are not sparking joy. In a series of posts on X (née Twitter) on September 18, Ross shared screenshots of email conversations she had with Pose and AHS creator Ryan Murphy, accompanied by quotes from Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl, claiming that he ghosted her after saying he wanted to work with her on a season of AHS, causing her to miss other opportunities, like a Marvel role. Then, on September 22, the Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Ross, detailing interactions with both Murphy and Emma Roberts, her American Horror Story co-star. Below, unpack the alleged real-life horror story.

Where does the Angelica Ross/Ryan Murphy drama begin?

Chronologically, the drama starts back on the set of Pose. “There would be so much chaos going on because on a Ryan Murphy set, there is sure to be chaos,” Ross told THR. “That’s just something that people know from Glee. We’ve heard about that on American Horror StoryScream Queens, and so on.” Ross was famously written off of Pose with her character Candy’s death in season three and written onto AHS, apparently so Murphy could, “Paint a narrative that he is supportive,” Ross says. However, when she heard what her potential salary would be for AHS ($28,000 an episode) she turned the opportunity down and asked for $50,000. Eventually, they did bump up her offer. “It wasn’t $50,000 an episode, but it was a significant bump,” Ross says. “And then I went on to do those seasons.”

What happened on AHS?

Filming AHS: 1984, Ross once had to leave set when a driver operating the car Ross drove on camera was “wearing a racist T-shirt” every day, with phrases including “BUILD THAT WALL” or “I DON’T KNEEL.” “I’m seeing this man with these shirts, and I’m trying to focus, and when they say action, I just said, “It’s cut. I can’t do this anymore,” Ross said. She then stopped filming and got into a production van saying, “I’m not coming out of this van until you handle the situation.” After director John J. Gray told her that he could not remedy the issue, Ross tweeted, “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.” Soon after, in Ross’s telling, she was called by producer Tanase Popa who said, “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.” Though the driver was still on the set, per Ross, she says Popa said, “I hear you. It’s just that these situations are difficult.” “Okay, fine, I’ll take down the tweet,” she recalls conceding. “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.”

Ross then said Murphy, who was directing on a different project at the time, called her immediately after. “You think that I would fucking silence you after all I’ve done, and I’ve been an advocate and done nothing but uplift trans Black women?” Ross remembers him saying, before backing down. “You know what? You are right. I’m sorry. I want to be your biggest champion. I understand the work you’re doing, and I want to be your biggest champion.”

Does Murphy agree with this version of events?

Nope. In a statement to THR, Popa tells a different version of the event. From his perspective, when he called Ross, he told her that Murphy saw the tweet and preferred that Ross would bring issues directly to himself or Murphy rather than tweeting about it. Popa says that Ross responded that she felt silenced and after a bit more back and forth between the two, Murphy called her. He says that he heard the interaction, and disputes Ross’s account. Instead, in Popa’s description, what Murphy said was, “I don’t understand why you would go to Twitter instead of coming to us.”

Okay so what were the screenshots about?

In the screenshots Ross posted on September 18 from July 2020, Murphy follows up on Ross’s idea for a Black woman–focused season of AHS, potentially starring Ross, Keke Palmer, and Gabourey Sidibe, along with another Black woman who is yet to be determined. She also shared an email from almost two years later, sent in February 2022, in which she follows up with Murphy about the project. In the email, Ross asks if she can be involved in the production side of the project as well. In the caption for the post, Ross reveals that when she sent that email, she was “still contractually in first position with the show,” and added, “Mind you, marvel had called twice now. I haven’t heard from him since.”

She further elaborated on Marvel’s relevancy in a later post responding to the Wrap’s telling of her story. Her continued contractual obligation to AHS meant that she couldn’t accept a Marvel job, despite not hearing back from Murphy. “I called business affairs for MONTHS trying to get clarity if they were picking up my contract option or if I was ok to tell Marvel that I was available for whatever they were calling me for,” she said in a post. “I had been auditioning for THREE YEARS for marvel. It’s that I was HELD in first position the whole time.”

Ross told THR her theory is that the treatment is because she did not fully condemn Janet Mock when she came out against Murphy. Ross says Mock told her, of her “fuck Hollywood” speech, “Girl, you think this is the first time Ryan Murphy’s hearing me say any of this? I’ve said this all to him.”

What happened with Emma Roberts?

Following her posts about Murphy, Ross promised, “Will also tell you about the transphobic remarks my co-star said to my face, and the racism I complained about on set that they said was ‘free speech.’” She made good on the post on September 19 via an Instagram Live, accusing former AHS: 1984 co-star and lead of Delicate Emma Roberts of transphobia during some banter on set. In her THR interview, she describes the incident as beginning when Roberts “had not allowed the makeup team to age her that much.” “We were supposed to be aged several years,” Ross explained. “So I knew from the makeup department about what was going on. So she comes to set and I’m like, “Oh, you look rested.” Then, in her Instagram Live, she said Gray told them, “‘Okay, ladies, that’s enough, let’s get back to work.’” “She then looks at me and goes, ‘Don’t you mean lady?’” Ross said, adding that she stopped talking to Roberts on set because “there was someone who spoke up about what she was doing and they got repercussions from it. Not her, they did.” Ross further said that Roberts “had been playing mind games with everybody on this set.”

Has Emma Roberts said anything?

Publicly, no. However, on September 20, Ross tweeted that Roberts called her to apologize for her transphobic remarks and actions on the set of American Horror Story. “Thank you @RobertsEmma for calling and apologizing, recognizing your behavior was not that of an ally,” Ross posted. “I will leave the line open to follow up on your desire to do better and support social justice causes with your platform.” Ross also asked that fans not joke about violence against Roberts. “Joke about her being held accountable,” she wrote. “Now THATs funny.”

She elaborated on that story in the THR interview calling it “ a bumpy conversation.” “You can’t call yourself an ally,” Ross said she told Roberts. “[Allyship] is an action. You need to be real with me in this conversation. I’m being real with you. You were being messy.” Roberts allegedly said that she “was really just referring to myself,” when she used the singular “lady,” which Ross does not believe.

Where does Angelica Ross go from here?

Not to AHS: Delicate! Ross says that, after being held on to by her AHS contracts with confirmation either way if she would be in the season for months, she ultimately called up business affairs herself. “What’s going on? Are we going back? When are we going back to work?” she asked. “They said, ‘Actually, I’m pulling the contracts right now, and yours is not in here. I don’t think you’re coming back to this season.’ That’s how I found out. It made me realize he thought that he can just kind of control my life like an on-and-off switch.”

Now, Ross is able to talk about this because she’s leaving Hollywood and moving to Atlanta in order to “run for office.” “I’m fully walking away from Hollywood,” she told THR. “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.”

This post has been updated.

Angelica Ross Has Receipts