Ellen Pompeo called out The Today Show this week for running a headline about her relationship with former Grey’s Anatomy co-star Patrick Dempsey. While appearing on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook talk show The Red Table Talk on Monday, Pompeo spoke at length about being a mom to biracial children. Towards the end of the talk, Pinkett-Smith asked whether Pompeo kept in touch with her old co-star. Saying that she did not, The Today Show focused on that small segment of the interview, something Pompeo did not appreciate.
“We haven’t spoken since he’s left the show,” said Pompeo when asked about Dempsey. “He’s a wonderful actor and we’ve made the best TV you can make together. That’s a talented man right there. And he did 11 amazing years.”
Referencing The Today Show hosts Hota Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford’s penchant for drinking wine on air, Pompeo got right to the point, or to the pinot, tweeting “Maybe all of you over there lay off the booze and pay attention to the real conversation that took place.” Meredith Grey does not play.
Hey here’s a suggestion!! Maybe all of you over there lay off the booze and pay attention to the real conversation that took place ? https://t.co/JJ5SUG9pgc
— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 11, 2018
During her time on The Red Table Talk, which also included Jada’s daughter Willow Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Pompeo spoke about the importance of seeing different types of families. Sharing three children with her husband, music producer Chris Ivery, who is black, Pompeo said “My challenge with raising brown children is, how much do you say to them and how much do you not say to them?”
Continuing, Pompeo said “A couple of weeks ago I had some friends over to the house, little girls of colour, and the little girl came in and I introduced myself and I said, ‘I’m Stella’s mom,’ and she looked at me and she was, like, almost scared, and then she went right to Stella and she said, ‘That’s your mom? I thought that was your mom (referencing the nanny). The little baby looked like she was scared of me. That just breaks my heart. That’s why that experience of being in my house and meeting me was good for her, to see that all white people aren’t what you think.”
I was humbled when @jadapsmith asked me to come to have a discussion about race. I by no means walk in anyone else’s shoes only my own. I was open &honest about my experience &come from a place of love w no fear about having difficult discussions. Thank you to the whole family https://t.co/pcALu87U9C
— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 9, 2018
In its 15th season, Grey’s Anatomy continues to be one of the most-watched series on TV, so we get why The Today Show would shift the focus to Pompeo’s relationship with Dempsey, especially since there have been rumours for years that the two did not get along near the end of Dempsey’s time on the show. It’s kinda like when Grey’s Anatomy teased this current season by showing Meredith and DeLuca in bed together in all the promos, which turned out to be just a dream. It’s only a small part of the story, but it’s the dramatic part.
But we also get where Pompeo is coming from; her discussion on the importance of acknowledging other people’s stories and experiences is something that continues to be absent in mainstream media and society in general. Pompeo has been using her platform as the highest paid drama actress on TV to help bring more diversity to TV sets and scripts, even calling out the lack of diversity at her recent photoshoot with Porter Magazine.
Following Pompeo’s tweet at The Today Show, host Kathie Lee Gifford announced she would be leaving the morning talk show after 11 years. The timing of the announcement had nothing to do with Pompeo’s tweet, but that does make for a good headline.