Ellen Pompeo Calls Out Magazine for Lack of Diversity
By Leena Tailor
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for GLSEN
After walking onto the set to film a roundtable discussion for Porter magazine, Ellen Pompeo noticed a “lack of color” in the production team and later called out the publication’s lack of diversity in the middle of the taping.
The Grey’s Anatomy actress was taking part in the outlet’s annual Women in Television issue, which involved sitting down with actresses Gabrielle Union, Emma Roberts and Gina Rodriguez to discuss diversity.
Towards the end of the session, the 49-year-old star pointed out how she didn’t see enough color.
“This day has been incredible, and there’s a ton of women in the room,” Pompeo said. “But, I don’t see enough color. And, I didn’t see enough color when I walked in the room today.”
Pompeo then explained that she had just met with the director of an endorsement project she’s involved in and instructed them that she wanted a diverse crew on the shoot.
“I said, ‘You know, when I show up on set, I would like to see the crew look like the world I walk around in every day. And, I think it’s up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see.”
“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,” Pompeo continued. “It’s our job because we created the problem.”
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During the interview, Pompeo also discussed the importance of equal representation on screen, citing the time she took her daughter to see the Disney film Frozen.
“I looked around and saw that more than half the children in the theater were children of color,” recalled the actress, who has three kids with producer husband, Chris Ivery. “They were all loving this movie, but my heart was breaking that here they are, idolizing these images on screen, and none of the images reflect more than half of them. But this is all they have to wonder and marvel at.”
Pompeo said she was so “moved” by the experience that when she ran into Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney (the parent company of ABC's Grey’s Anatomy), two weeks later, she expressed her disdain.
“He promised me that he was aware and that things were going to change and that he was doing everything in his power, every day, to make that possible,” she said. “And three years later, Black Panther came out. When I saw it, I cried at every frame. It had so much significance for me, not only because I have black children, but just thinking back to how Bob kept his word. There aren’t many people in positions of power who are committed to doing the right thing.”
ET talked to Pompeo in October, when she further expressed her concern at the lack of diversity behind the scenes of showbiz.
"I want to see behind the scenes and below the line crew look different," she said, at an event for Porter. "Everybody realizes that the talent people have to have more opportunities with respect to the talent we see on screen. I want to see press lines, I want to see press junkets, I want to see film critics. I want to see the people that we don't see -- I want to see that change."
"I want to see more inclusion here and I'm not seeing it tonight," she added. "There's a couple of women on the carpet -- the photographers. There's always a few women, but when I look down, I see the majority of photographers are white men and that's a problem."