Angelica Ross & Ryan Murphy: Clash Over Alleged Racism

Challenges arise behind the scenes of a popular series.

by Nouman Rasool
Angelica Ross & Ryan Murphy: Clash Over Alleged Racism
© Araya Doheny/GettyImages

In a revealing interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Angelica Ross, a pivotal figure in the American Horror Story series, brought to light some unsavory memories from the set of the show’s ninth season, AHS: 1984.

At the heart of Ross' recollections is an incident involving a crew member who sported offensive t-shirts on set. "He had a series of shirts that sent controversial messages," Ross explained. "From ones saying, 'BUILD THAT WALL,' to another with white hands clasped in prayer against an American flag backdrop that read, 'I DON'T KNEEL.'"

Ross Confronts On-Set Racism

This prompted Ross to take a stand, refusing to leave a production vehicle until the issue was addressed. She aired her frustrations on Twitter, noting the irony of fighting against racism and prejudice in the outside world, only to confront similar attitudes on set. Although she later deleted the tweet, she implied it was due to pressure from show creator, Ryan Murphy, conveyed through producer Tanase Popa.

Ross recalled a direct phone call from Murphy following the tweet's deletion, where he didn't check on her well-being but aggressively asked about her problem. The conversation escalated with Murphy defending his track record in supporting and uplifting trans Black women. Ross responded by highlighting the responsibilities heaped on actors, especially after the success of "Pose", turning them into advocates as well.

Murphy's alleged tone seemed to shift by the end of the conversation, as he apologized and expressed his desire to champion Ross's cause. However, the narrative takes another twist when Tanase Popa refuted Ross's claims regarding Murphy's behavior during the call.

Following the interview, Ross dropped more bombshells, alleging that Murphy failed to stay in touch after discussions about a season of AHS featuring an all-Black female cast. She also pointed fingers at co-star Emma Roberts for exhibiting transphobia on set. Thankfully, Roberts seems to have extended an olive branch, with Ross confirming an apology from her.

As these claims circulate, representatives for Murphy and FX remain silent, not responding to EW’s inquiries.

It’s clear that Angelica Ross’s revelations have opened a fresh can of worms in Hollywood, reigniting conversations about inclusivity and respect in the industry. With the spotlight on such issues, it remains to be seen how industry stakeholders will respond.