'Shameless' Fans Back Emmy Rossum in Showtime Showdown for Equal Pay
Show Fiona the money!
There's no shame in "Shameless." There is shame, however, in a network failing to give its lead actress lead pay.
Rossum's Fiona Gallagher is the main character of "Shameless," but -- according to The Hollywood Reporter -- she has always been paid less than co-star William H. Macy, who plays Frank. That made sense at first, since Macy came into the show with an Oscar nomination, a longer resume, and more recognition as an actor. But now that Rossum has paid her dues for 84 episodes, and she knows that Fiona is more of a cornerstone of the show than Frank, she is holding out for more.
As THR reports, Rossum is not only seeking equal pay with Macy, "multiple sources" claim "she is taking the position she should be paid more per-episode than Macy makes after years of earning much less than her Emmy-nominated co-star." Yep. If this were Season 2, maybe they could raise their eyebrows at such a "demand," but the series is going into Season 8. It probably won't be around for much longer, but she is arguably the No. 1 reason it has lasted this long. No disrespect to WHM -- everyone loves him, but this isn't even about him or about pitting him against Rossum. It's about producers/networks being fair.
However, Showtime hasn't even officially announced Season 8 yet, 'cause they are still negotiating. THR said Rossum's pay standoff is holding up a possible eighth season. "Sources say if Rossum closes her deal, producer WBTV then will renegotiate with the remainder of the cast, including Jeremy Allen White (Lip), Cameron Monaghan (Ian) and Steve Howey (Kevin). If she can't close a deal, Showtime could choose to renew the show without her or cancel it."
It seems unfair to put this on her shoulders, as if it's her fault that things are delayed or that the show could end. No one is asking for a handout here.
Based on THR's comments, and those at other sites and Twitter, most fans are on Rossum's side. As one commenter wrote:
"The fact that she 'has to' demand it is the problem. She IS more of a lead, she has more screentime, she has more prominent storylines, she is featured simply MORE. I can imagine a Shameless without the great, brilliant and wonderful Macy but I honestly cannot without Rossum who, in my book, IS (the heart of) the show. Give her what she asks for, Showtime, and feel aSHAMEd (pun intended) that you put her in a situation where she even had to ask for equal pay in the first place. In this day and age the story and the headline really shouldn't be 'Actress demanding equal pay', it should be 'Network refusing to give equal pay to female lead of their flagship comedy'. I don't think the media realises how much they contribute to this issue and not in a good way."
That's true. She shouldn't have to "demand" anything and putting it that way does make it easy for people to see her as the problem instead of The Powers That Be. Thankfully, more people are backing her. But they aren't the ones holding the purse strings.
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