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TV star Ellen Pompeo takes part in a panel interview for Porter magazine. (YouTube / Net-A-Porter)
TV star Ellen Pompeo takes part in a panel interview for Porter magazine. (YouTube / Net-A-Porter)


Ellen Pompeo breaks down discussing diversity: ‘It’s been too long where the right thing is never done’

By WITW Staff on November 23, 2018

Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo delivered some tough love to fashion magazine Porter during a filmed interview for the “Women in Television” issue.

While exploring the issue of diversity in Hollywood, during a panel conversation with fellow actors Emma Roberts, Gina Rodriguez and Gabrielle Union, Pompeo suddenly called out the magazine’s own shortcomings, to the visible shock and delight of her colleagues. “This day has been incredible, and there’s a ton of women in the room, but I don’t see enough color, and I didn’t see enough color when I walked in the room today,” she said.

“And meeting with a director of another endorsement project that I’m doing, 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 every day.’ And I think it’s up to all productions to make sure your crew looks like the world we see.”

The actress, who has three biracial children with husband Chris Ivery, added, “As caucasian people, it’s our job, it’s our task, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we speak up in every single room we walk into, that this is not OK, and we can all do better. It’s our job, because we’ve created the problem.”

Union and Rodriguez, both women of color, admitted they had also noticed the issue but would never have raised it for fear of seeming “ungrateful.”

“That’s why it’s our job; that’s why it’s our job,” reiterated Pompeo.

The mic-drop moment, which left Pompeo in tears, led to a broader and brilliant conversation between all four women about how to be in society in general — exploring the choices we all make about friendships and about kids’ education, how we offer opportunities to our professional peers, who we choose to work with, and more.

“Live your life in the correct way and if you give a shit, if you care, you will change the people in your life,” insisted a passionate Pompeo.

“And what a more rich existence to be just culturally open, to see other people’s perspective is enriching to yourself,” Rodriguez agreed. “Fuck having to hit a mandate or whatever — it’s just so much more enriching to be like, ‘That’s a perspective I didn’t  know, but guess what — I do now because I watched my girl go through it and live it and now I know so much more.’”

See the full interview below, and watch the powerful exchange about diversity from 16:20:


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