Showtime says ‘Shameless’ star Emmy Rossum’s fight for equal pay is “justified”

Showtime’s popular dark comedy Shameless would be nothing without its female lead Emmy Rossum. But because equal pay stretches to every sector in America, Rossum has been paid less than her co-star lead William H. Macy for years. So when Rossum demanded a higher pay than Macy, production for season eight was put on hold. A deal was struck that put her salary on par with her male co-star, and now Showtime wants to make it clear Rossum should have been paid parity all along.

During a TCA panel on Monday, Showtime president David Nevins said, “To be clear, parity was justified in this case. We were advocating for that from the beginning. It is great for her and great for us. Emmy has been a force on that show. Not just in front, but behind the cameras. She’ll continue to direct.”

Rossum’s character Fiona Gallagher is a core part of the show. Macy may be its lead, but the show centers around the eldest Gallagher raising her five siblings. As much as Frank Gallagher’s (Macy’s character) musings amuse me, doubt I’d be tuning in without Fiona.

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During the salary stalemate Deadline reported:

The studio reportedly offered both Rossum and William H. Macy the same salary under so-called favored nations terms that assure financial parity. As an Oscar nominee with an extensive body of work, Macy had started off with a higher original quote, and Rossum, the series’ breakout star, was to catch up with him. She had been holding out for a salary higher than Macy’s, briefly putting the future of Shameless in limbo.

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Equal pay for female stars is a major problem in Hollywood. In recent years more actresses have decided to speak out publicly while others demand equal pay behind the scenes. House of Cards star Robin Wright reportedly threatened to go public if she didn’t receive parity with Kevin Spacey. It worked. Jennifer Lawrence and Sienna Miller are among the voices who have spoken out against the pay disparity.

Showtime avoided a major PR crisis by making sure to clarify that the network supported Rossum’s decision for parity. There may not be a lot of sympathy on the pay gap issue for celebrities who get to play a role on TV and films. The job looks glamorous, they’re famous and we assume they’re rich. But the bottomline is that women — in any profession — should not be paid less for doing the same job as a man. And they damn sure shouldn’t have to threaten networks to walk if they don’t get parity with their male co-stars.

Glad Showtime did the right thing because I’m in way too deep to quit Shameless now.