These Ellen Pompeo Moments Caused Controversy For The Grey’s Anatomy Star

From the early Grey’s days through today.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Ellen Pompeo attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. ...
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After more than 15 years on Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo knows fame — and the controversy that often goes along with it. Here are some of the star’s most contentious moments.

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On the Sept. 29 episode of her podcast, Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo, the actor said she’d clashed with Denzel Washington when he directed an episode of Grey’s, after he “went ham” on her for improvising a line.


“I was like, ‘Listen, motherf*cker, this is my show. This is my set,” Pompeo continued. Still, she said filming the episode (Season 12, Episode 9) was “an amazing experience.”

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At a 2018 Q&A, the conversation pivoted to sexual harassment and caused some raised eyebrows. “We [women] bear some responsibility,” Pompeo said. “Not all, but it takes two to tango ... and that’s not to blame the victims.”

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Pompeo also said she’d been in a room with Harvey Weinstein before, but “nothing inappropriate happened” — if it did, she’d have “smashed him across the side of the face.”

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Pompeo addressed the comments in 2020. “Thank God we can speak up now but once again assault and harassment are different,” she wrote on Twitter, “both bad but different.

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In the book How to Save a Life, Isaiah Washington said he auditioned for McDreamy but there was a rumor that Pompeo objected to him playing her love interest since “she had a Black boyfriend [IRL] ... so she felt uncomfortable.”

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“I didn’t think they were really going to put an interracial couple on the show and I didn’t want him,” Pompeo told the New York Post in 2013. “It was too close to home.”

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In a 2015 roundtable, Pompeo interjected as Shonda Rhimes discussed racist comments about Viola Davis. “If any good comes out of ignorance, then I’ll take the ignorance,” she said.

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Pompeo left the room after Davis sighed and addressed the comment, per EW. “I understand what Ellen is talking about, but I’ve been on the other side of ignorance,” she said.

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