When Emmy Rossum joined the cast of Shameless in 2011, her salary was significantly lower than that of her co-star, William H. Macy. At the time, Rossum says it made perfect sense that she was paid less than Macy — it was her first TV show and Macy is an Oscar-nominated actor with a great deal of experience under his belt. But there came a time when Rossum knew she deserved equal pay — and she spoke out about it at the 2017 Vulture Festival.
“As the time went on, the leadership role started to feel somewhat shared," Rossum explained. She began to direct episodes of Shameless, and her on-set status rose to the level of Macy's. She certainly didn't want to leave the series — Rossum simply wanted to be fairly compensated for her work.
"I just felt that I love the show, I love everyone in it, I want to keep doing it, but I just wanted it to feel right," she explained during the panel.
When Rossum decided it was time to speak up and request equal pay, Macy was one of her biggest supporters.
“It’s unconscionable they would pay a woman less for the same job,” Macy told the panel. “It’s show biz’s job to get us for as cheaply as they can — and our job to say no.” He went on to point out that Rossum's character, Fiona, is truly the center of the show.
In December, it was confirmed that Rossum will receive equal pay going forward — but this wouldn't have happened if she hadn't had the strength to speak out against the sexist wage gap.
Of course, the wage gap affects many, many industries. Rossum's actions are an inspiration to all women who may feel hesitant or anxious to demand the compensation they deserve.