Friendly reminder: Do not come for Meredith Grey (or any woman with a scalpel).
On Thursday, Deadline reported that Grey's Anatomy had made the controversial decision to part ways with two of the show's most beloved characters, Dr. April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw). In its reporting, the outlet noted that actress Ellen Pompeo (Dr. Meredith Grey) and recently received a significant pay raise, totalling "as much as $20 million a year."
Some fans took that sentence and ran with it, alleging that Pompeo's salary is the main reason for Capshaw and Drew's firings. Well, Pompeo heard these allegations, and she has some choice words for fans and critics alike.
"Its [sic] unfortunate that @DEADLINE chooses to try to pit women against eachother [sic] on #InternationalWomensDay," she wrote in a series of tweets on Thursday. "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."
Showrunner Krista Vernoff also weighed in, saying that Deadline's "suggestion" was "wrong and hurtful and misguided."
"It smacks of an old, broken, patriarchal notion that women must be pitted against each other an that one woman's success will be costly to others," Vernoff continued.
She makes a great point. It's a statistically proven fact that women in entertainment (and many other industries) are paid less than their male colleagues. You need not look much further than reports that Mark Wahlberg earned $1.5 million to reshoot scenes for All The Money In The World, while Michelle Williams likely collected the minimum union fees ($125 per day). There's a reason so many actresses are demanding Hollywood close the sexist pay gap through the Time's Up movement.
People so often cheer for actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman when they speak out about pay inequality, so why is it that so many fans are upset with Pompeo for fighting for her own salary increase? (And, according to this interview she gave with InStyle, getting her fair share was much harder than you might think.) When more than one man signs a multi-million dollar contract on a show, most of us don't even think twice, and it's rare that anyone blames them if/when other actors are fired.
There's room for more than one woman to be successful on a show. The future will be brighter for all women and girls if, instead of vilifying one another, we celebrated each other's accomplishments and worked together to success stories the norm rather than the exception.