Over the years, Ellen Pompeo has used her platform to highlight numerous topics plaguing Hollywood, from equal pay to inclusion, but her comments haven’t always been so well-received. Take, for instance, the actress’s attempt to combat racism back in 2016.
Two years ago, the Grey’s Anatomy star took A&E to task for promoting a show centered around the lives of KKK family members — an experience she recently discussed during an appearance on the popular Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, which is hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith.
“So, A&E was going to put out this documentary about the KKK. And I had tweeted and was vocal, ‘This isn’t cool. You guys shouldn’t be making this kind of programming,’” she said. “I don’t care in what light that show is, the trailer that I saw was provocative and it was sensationalizing the KKK.”
She added, “If you’re going to give those dudes money for burning crosses or whatever the fuck they do, that’s not okay for me for A&E.”
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Pompeo’s efforts proved to be successful, as the network ended up dropping the show before any of the episodes could ever air.
“A&E walked it back, said we’re sorry, we’re pulling,” she said.
But despite her success, she drew backlash for her celebration. Pompeo praised A&E’s decision to pull the KKK-focused show in a series of tweets that included the black clapping hands and black thumps-up emojis.
“So I was like black fist emoji, black power,” she explained, referencing the tweets that drew criticism online. “I’m not appropriating culture. I’m just joining the fight.”
Despite later apologizing for the incident, Pompeo now views the outrage that she experienced as reverse racism.
“If you call me a white bitch, then isn’t that judging me on the color of my skin? Why can’t I help a victory for black people because I’m white?” she expressed.
Pompeo has three biracial children with Chris Avery, who is African American, and has previously spoken up about diversity, most recently during Net-a-Porter’s “Women in Television” discussion with fellow actresses Gabrielle Union, Gina Rodriguez, and Emma Roberts. The star took issue with the lack of diversity on set during the interview.
“This day has been incredible. And there’s a ton of women in the room,” she said, “but I don’t see enough color. And I didn’t see enough color when I waked in the room today.”
“When I show up on set, I would like to see the crew look like the world that I walk around in every day, and think it’s up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see,” she continued. Pompeo then stressed the importance of white people addressing racism, saying, “as Caucasian people, it’s our job, it’s our task, it’s our responsibility to speak up in every single room we walk into. It’s our job because we created the problem.”
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