The actress is through with working on projects that don’t have any people of colour behind-the-scenes.
In recent years, Ellen Pompeo has not-so-quietly become one of television’s fiercest feminists.
The longrunning star of Grey’s Anatomy has been vocal about everything from the way television stars are treated in the film industry, sexual harassment and the importance of the #MeToo movement, and why all women need to speak openly about their salaries after she negotiated a groundbreaking £15.5 million annual pay cheque for her work on the medical drama.
She even called out Grey’s Anatomy’s production company for using her co-star Patrick Dempsey against her in previous salary negotiations. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in January, Pompeo said in a moment of refreshing candour that “at one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him [Dempsey] just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me.” She thought about leaving the show at that point, but she stuck to her gut instinct and her love of the material, as created by legendary showrunner Shonda Rhimes. “Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy,” Pompeo asked herself.
Today, she’s taken her trademark frankness and applied it to the question of diversity both on the screen and behind-the-scenes in a new interview with Net-A-Porter. Pompeo appears on the cover of the online shopping website’s Porter platform alongside fellow television stars Gabrielle Union, Emma Roberts and Gina Rodriguez.
And while Pompeo said she loved being part of the photoshoot and appearing alongside a diverse range of women in television, she said that there was still a huge amount of work to be done in the field of inclusivity.
“This day has been incredible, and there’s a tonne of women in the room,” Pompeo said in the video. “But I don’t see enough colour [on this set]. I didn’t see enough colour when I walked into the room today.”
Pompeo went on to further call out the lack of diversity behind-the-scenes on productions like photoshoots and advertisements. “I had a meeting with a director of another endorsement project that I’m doing where I said, ‘You know, when I show up on set, I would like to see the crew look like the world that I walk around in everyday,’” Pompeo said.
This, she added, is the responsibility of Caucasian people in all positions of power. “I think it’s up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see,” she said. “As Caucasian people, it’s our job. It’s our task. It’s our responsibility to make sure we speak up in every single room we walk into [and say] this is not OK and that we can all do better. It’s our job. We’ve created the problem.”
Social media erupted with fans hailing Pompeo’s no-bullsh*t attitude to calling out problematic behaviour when she sees it.
Pompeo wasn’t only candid in the video but in the print interview with Porter, too.
Speaking about red carpet experiences, Pompeo said “it’s so much easier because I just give zero f*cks. I mean, of course you want your outfit to be amazing, your hair, your makeup, but you’re so much less self-conscious at this age.”
“I’m 48,” she added, “and I give zero f*cks. No-one tells you that about ageing - the little things don’t matter to you anymore. You’re just happy to be healthy and getting to do what you love.”
Amen, Ellen! In this, as in so many things, we are not worthy.