Ellen Pompeo on Fighting Racism and Getting Backlash for It: 'Why Can't I Help?'

Ellen Pompeo is getting real about interracial marriage and reverse racism


Ellen Pompeo is getting candid about what she perceives as reverse racism.

In a PEOPLE exclusive clip, the Grey’s Anatomy star spoke to Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Willow Smith about fighting racism and getting backlash for it on the Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk.

The 49-year-old star recalled calling out A&E Network after they promoted a show focusing on the lives of family members within the KKK.

“So, A&E was going to put out this documentary about the KKK. And I had tweeted and was vocal, ‘This isn’t cool. You guys shouldn’t be making this kind of programming,’” Pompeo explained. “I don’t care in what light that show is, the trailer that I saw was provocative and it was sensationalizing the KKK.”

She continued, “If you’re going to give those dudes money for burning crosses or whatever the f— they do, that’s not okay for me for A&E.”

The actress said her vocalization brought an end to the series before it aired, sharing, “A&E walked it back, said we’re sorry, we’re pulling it.”

Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Ellen Pompeo and Jada Pinkett Smith. Stan Evans

“So I was like black fist emoji, black power,” she said, although her tweet brought on backlash for the black emojis she used. “I’m not appropriating culture. I’m just joining the fight.”

Pompeo explained she felt as though the backlash she received was reverse racism, saying, “If you call me a white bitch then isn’t that judging me on the color of my skin? Why can’t I help a victory for black people because I’m white?”

The star discussed diversity and inclusion in Hollywood on Porter Magazine’s “Women in Television” issue recently where she called out the publication for its lack of representation among the talent. (The issue included Gabrielle Union, Gina Rodriguez and Emma Roberts.)

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“This day has been incredible. And there’s a ton of women in the room. But I don’t see enough color. And I didn’t see enough color when I walked in the room today,” she said, referring to the staff on the set of the interview.

“As Caucasian people, it’s our job, it’s our task, it’s our responsibility to speak up in every single room we walk into,” she added. “It’s our job because we created the problem.”

Pompeo is married to Chris Ivery, who is African American, and the two share three kids: Stella, 9, Sienna, 4, and son Eli who turns 2 this month.

Red Table Talk airs Monday on Facebook Watch.

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