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Ellen Pompeo slams claim her $20M Grey's Anatomy salary led to firings

The 48-year-old actress took to Twitter on Thursday after a Deadline report suggested her $20million paycheck is the reason Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw are being let go.


Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo is speaking out after it was insinuated that the generous salary she recently negotiated is behind two actresses being fired from the long-running show.

The 48-year-old actress took to Twitter on Thursday after a Deadline report suggested her $20million paycheck was the reason Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw have been let go.

Pompeo tweeted: 'Its unfortunate that @DEADLINE chooses to try to pit women against eachother on #InternationalWomensDay #shameonyounotme'

'Shame on you': Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo (pictured Sunday) is speaking out after it was suggested her $20m salary is the reason two actresses have been fired from the show

'I'm a big girl @DEADLINE can take shots at me if they want but to the fans please don't fall into that trap. This is above my pay grade' she wrote in a following tweet.

Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff echoed Pompeo's sentiments with her own tweet insisting that the decision to cut the two actresses was purely a creative one.

'The suggestion in the Deadline article that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo's salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided,' Vernoff wrote.

'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.

She continued: 'Ellen Pompeo has not only advocated passionately for her fellow cast members, she 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.

Unfortunate: The 48-year-old actress took to Twitter on Thursday after a Deadline report suggested her $20million paycheck is the reason Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw are being let go

Creative decision: Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff echoed Pompeo's sentiments with her own message

'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.'

Deadline reported on Thursday morning that longtime Grey's Anatomy stars Capshaw and Drew will be exiting the show at the end of the current season.

The article explains that the decision not to bring back the two stars 'comes on the heels of the blockbuster new Pompeo pact that gave her a significant salary increase, paying her as much as $20 million a year, including signing bonus, producing fees, ownership in the show and other extras.'

Drew was the first to speak out about the news on Twitter and revealed surprisingly that she only found out herself less than two days ago.

'Thank you for all of the love,' the 37-year-old 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. 

Saying goodbye: Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw will be exiting the show at the end of the current season 14

'Haven't had time to process': Drew revealed she only found out about the decision less than two days ago 

'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. 

She added: '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 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.'

Drew joined the show in season six as trauma surgeon April Kepner, a transfer from Mercy West, later being upped to series regular in season seven. 

Later in the day Capshaw, 41, who joined the medical drama in 2008 for season five as pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins, responded to the news with a heartfelt statement.

Fan favorite: Drew (pictured in November 2017) joined the show in season six as trauma surgeon April Kepner, a transfer from Mercy West, later being upped to series regular in season seven

'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.'

'Her impact on the world is permanent': Capshaw also shared a heartfelt note about the decision that her character Arizona Robbins will be leaving

Coming to an end: Capshaw, 41, joined the show in 2008 for season five as pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins

According to Deadline who first reported the news, the decision to cut the two characters was made by producers ahead of the potential next season. The series hasn't been officially renewed for a season 15.

Creator Shonda Rimes reflected on the cultural significance of the two characters in a statement which read: 'It's always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters,

'Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV. I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family.' 

Jesse Williams, 36, also took to social media in response to the casting moves.

Popular show: Jesse Williams, shown in a still from a January episode of Grey's Anatomy with Sarah and Chandra Wilson, took to social media in response to the casting moves

'Sarah and Jessica are easily among my very favorite people and coworkers, so this news f***in sucks. Their immense talent speaks for itself but it's them as people that I'm so grateful to know, privileged to have worked with and learned from,' he tweeted.

He added in another tweet: 'To say they'll be missed is a massive understatement. Luckily for all of us, we'll get to see these artists continue bringing compelling and complex characters to life for many moons to come! #OurWorkIsForever.'

Williams has been portraying Dr Jackson Avery on the ABC series since being introduced on episode five of season six.

Favorite people: The actor said that Sarah and Jessica were easily among his 'favorite people and coworkers'

Massive understatement: Jesse tweeted that the actresses would be sorely missed

In a January interview Pompeo discussed her salary negotiation.

She told The Hollywood Reporter that it wasn't until Patrick Dempsey left the series that she got the bumper paycheck.

'For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — 'We don't need you; we have Patrick' — which they did for years,'

Nope: Fans took to Twitter to react to the news that both Capshaw and Drew would be leaving the long running show

Sad news: Some fans were clearly not happy with the decision from Shonda and her team

'At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey's Anatomy and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn't give it to me.

'And I could have walked away, so why didn't I? It's my show; I'm the number one. I'm sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, 'I'm not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.''

It was last year when Pompeo decided to get tough with producers, as she explained: 'What happened is that I went to Shonda [Rhimes] and I said, 'If you're moving on to Netflix and you want the show to go down, I'm cool with that,'' said the star.

''But if you want it to continue, I need to be incentivized. I need to feel empowered and to feel ownership of this show.'' 

Pompeo is now the highest-paid actress on a prime time drama, getting $575,000 per episode on Grey's Anatomy, which comes to over $20 million per year. 

After negotiating a new deal last year Pompeo is now the highest-paid actress on a prime time drama, getting $575,000 per episode on Grey's Anatomy, which comes to over $20 million per year

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