'The Walking Dead's Khary Payton Tells AMC To Pay Lauren Cohan

The Walking Dead's Khary Payton is showing support for co-star Lauren Cohan following the actress' strained contract negotiations with AMC.

Payton, who plays the Kingdom's theatrical leader King Ezekiel, shared a photo of Cohan on Instagram Sunday afternoon with a simple caption: "Pay the woman."

Pay the woman.

A post shared by Khary Payton (@kharypayton) on

The post garnered more than 35,000 likes just five hours after going live.

Cohan, who has been with the long-running series since its second season in 2011, turned to free agency following the expiration of her Walking Dead contract, which is up following the season 8 finale in April.

In February, THR reported Cohan sought a pay raise that would put her closer in step with stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. Those discussions came up early on, but weren't made a make-or-break requirement for Cohan's return to the series.

The trade explains AMC offered Cohan a "modest" salary increase in exchange for a long-term contract, which was rejected. With no deal in place for The Walking Dead season 9, expected to debut on AMC this October, Cohan boarded ABC drama pilot Whiskey Cavalier.

Sources continued to report Cohan and her agents were displeased with offers on the table from AMC, leading to Cohan's camp to be "frustrated" with AMC's "lowball offers."

Cohan is the only Walking Dead cast member yet to re-sign for season 9, THR reported March 1.

Producer Scott M. Gimple told TVLine he is "incredibly hopeful" about AMC reaching a new deal with Cohan, whose character Maggie Rhee is a pivotal part of Robert Kirkman's ongoing comic book series, where she serves as leader of the farming Hilltop community.

"These things do happen in TV," he said, "but we're talking."

Asked by THR if the back half of season 8 will provide fans a satisfying conclusion to Maggie's storyline, Gimple said the two camps are "talking and figuring it out."

"We've had people do other shows and other gigantic movies that take America by storm," Gimple said. "We're figuring it out with each other and trying to let people be able to do other things and stick around. I shan't even entertain the thought."

Gimple added he's "positive" a deal will be made allowing for Cohan's return.

The Walking Dead most recently saw the exit of longtime star Chandler Riggs, who played Carl Grimes, also a key figure in the comic books. Carl's untimely exit took Riggs by surprise, who told ET Live then showrunner Gimple "didn't mention" Carl's death in preliminary talks about season 8.


Gimple has since been promoted to chief content officer of the Walking Dead brand for AMC, and will hand over the showrunner position to producer and writer Angela Kang with season 9.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.