Ellen Pompeo Addresses 'Roseanne' Cancellation: 'She Never Deserved a Second Chance'

Actress Ellen Pompeo has spoken out about the Roseanne cancellation, saying that the sitcom never should have been given a second chance.

The Roseanne reboot was rife with controversy from the start. Roseanne Barr had a well-documented history of controversial, conspiratorial and racist statements even before Tuesday, when a racist tweet ended her sitcom for good. Pompeo, star and producer of Grey's Anatomy, pointed this out on Wednesday morning when addressing the story.

Pompeo retweeted an article about the Roseanne controversy. The tweet read that "The former Obama adviser said the racist attack against her should be used as a 'teaching moment.'"

Pompeo agreed, adding, "And the teaching moment begins with 'when someone shows you who they are.. believe them.'"

"She is exactly who we thought she was," Pompeo continued. "I don't care what the ratings were. She never deserved a second chance in my opinion. But glad Channing got to give her what she deserves."

The cancellation came only a few hours after Barr tweeted about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett was born to American parents in Iran, and and is a woman of color. Barr tweeted, "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj".

Barr's tweet went up at 2:45 a.m. in response to an unfounded conspiracy claiming that Jarrett had helped cover up alleged crimes of the Obama administration. A few hours later, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey released a statement announcing the cancellation.

"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," Dungey wrote.

Barr was often admired as a groundbreaking leader for women in the industry. Her show defied many television norms at the time, and she had a level of control that female producers were rarely afforded. However, for more than a decade, she has been preoccupied with conspiracy theories that have made her a hero to far-right circles.

These days, Pompeo occupies a similar status to the kind Barr herself used to have. She has fought for her right to payment and recognition as the lead of a prime time hit, climbing her way up to become a producer and even occasional director of the show.

Back in January, Pompeo gave an interview at The Hollywood Reporter, discussing the need for women to take an interest in the business side of entertainment and fight for their place at the table.

"For me, Patrick leaving the show was a defining moment, deal-wise," she said. "They could always use him as leverage against me — 'We don't need you; we have Patrick' — which they did for years. I don't know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that.

"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?" she asked rhetorically. "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."


At the end of last year, Pompeo signed a deal making her the highest paid woman on a dramatic TV series.