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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Ellen Pompeo blasts claim her $20 million Grey's Anatomy paycheck led to costars being let go

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Ellen Pompeo does not appreciate the insinuation that her recent salary negotiation — which led to her new $20 million salary — had anything to do with her Grey’s Anatomy costars Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew being let go from the show at the end of the current season.

“This is above my paygrade,” Pompeo tweeted Thursday, warning fans to not “fall into that trap” of “pit[ting] women against eachother.”

Her sentiments were echoed in a tweet from Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff.

“The suggestion … that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo’s salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided,” Vernoff’s tweet reads. “It smacks of an old, broken, patriarchal notion that women must be pitted against each other and that one woman’s success will be costly to others.”

“Ellen Pompeo has not only advocated passionately for her fellow cast members,” Vernoff tweet continues. “[S]he has taken the time to educate women worldwide as to how to advocate for themselves and that must not now be twisted. The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one.

“The only thing as constant on Grey’s Anatomy as Ellen Pompeo is our penchant for reinvention. It is a part of our success and what keeps the show exciting. We love these actresses and we love these characters and it felt true and right creatively to wrap up their stories. And that is the whole story.”

After the news of the cast shakeup was announced Thursday, Drew was one of the first to share her feelings on Twitter.

“Thank you for all of the love,” she wrote. “I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had the time to process this information. I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later. For now, I’d like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn’t over yet. And the really good news (for me, at least) is that I’m here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Grey’s family all this week and next, so I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am grateful.”

According to Deadline, which was the first to report the news, the decision was made by the producers ahead of the potential 15th season. The show has not yet been officially renewed. The decision seems to be a surprise to at least Drew, who posted a message to her fans on Twitter shortly after the news broke.

Later in the day Capshaw also posted a message on Twitter.

“For the past 10 years, I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins, but also being madly in love with playing her,” she wrote. “Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job. She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever. Forever. I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me. I am sad to see her go, but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations. Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster. With a heart full of love, Jessica.”

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