Ellen Pompeo Shuts Down Speculation Her Salary Triggered 'Grey's Anatomy' Exits

Ellen Pompeo is lashing out at those insinuating her salary negotiations had anything to do with the latest Grey's Anatomy cast shakeup.

The star of the medical drama, who recently negotiated a new $20 million contract at ABC, took to Twitter to lash out at rumors her contract led to co-stars Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew being let go from the hit series at the end of season 14.

"This is above my pay grade," Pompeo tweeted Thursday. She also dragged Deadline's reporting of the story, for choosing "to try to pit women against each other."

Her suggestions were supported by Grey's showrunner Krista Vernoff, who tweeted her own message denouncing the news organization, as first reported by Entertainment Weekly.

"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 tweeted. "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."

"Ellen Pompeo has not only advocated passionate for her fellow cast members," Vernoff continued. "[S]he 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."

"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," she added.

Deadline later responded to Pompeo and Vernoff's tweets issuing a clarification on Twitter.

"While Deadline's story stressed the decision for Capshaw and Drew's exits was strictly creative, the mention of the big new deal for Pompeo, which helped secure a renewal for Grey's, led to online speculation about a possible connection between the two," the news organization tweeted.

"There is no such connection. Because this has become an issue, pitting women against each other on International Women's Day, we are making it clear," the company added.

After news broke of Drew's and Capshaw's departure from the series, Drew took to Twitter to share a message with her fans regarding her exit.

"Hey guys. Thank you for all of the love. I know you're sad. I'm sad to," Drew wrote.

"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 [nine] years here. That will come later," Drew continued.

Capshaw commented shortly after Drew, thanking her fans for joining her in Dr. Arizona Robbins' journey.

"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 Televison. Her impact on the world is permanent and and forever. Forever," Capshaw continued.

Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes also spoke out after the news, posting a sweet message on her social media.


"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," Rhimes wrote.

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.