Ellen Pompeo responds to fans who suggested that her $20 million dollar salary for "Grey's Anatomy" is the reason behind co-stars Jessica Capshaw and Sara Drew being let go from the show.
On Thursday morning, "Grey's" fans were shocked to hear the news that long-time fan favorites, Capshaw and Drew, who played Arizona Robbins and April Kepner, would be leaving the show at the end of the season.
Following the news, speculation swirled that the two "Grey's" stars decided to leave the show due to the fact that they were not paid as much as Pompeo, who has played Merideth Grey on the hit ABC series for 13 years.
In response to the rumors, Pompeo lashed out at Deadline, which was first to report the news of Drew and Capshaw's leaving, and said, “This is above my pay grade,” and warned fans to not “fall into that trap” of “pit[ting] women against each other.”
"Grey’s" showrunner, Krista Vernoff, later defended Pompeo in a lengthy Twitter statement.
“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 read. “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.”
In addition to defending Pompeo, the showrunner also defended the production team's decision to end the storylines for both Drew and Capshaw and said, "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 broke on Thursday, Capshaw shared her sentiments on Twitter in a statement which read, “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.”
Drew also thanked fans for their support in a similar statement.
According to Deadline, the decision to end the character's storylines was made ahead of the potential new season, but the show has not yet been renewed.