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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.
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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 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.