Ellen Pompeo Responds to Backlash Over Resurfaced Comments About Harvey Weinstein
"It's out of context and it’s too serious a subject to talk about on a platform like this," wrote the Grey's Anatomy actress on Twitter
On Thursday, the Grey's Anatomy star, 50, responded to fans who claimed she had once placed blame on the women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault in 2017. Pompeo's comments came from an hour-long July 2018 Oxford Union panel, from which a one-minute clip circulated on social media this week.
"I think we bear some responsibility, not all, but it takes two to tango for sure," she said on the panel. "That's not to blame the victims, that's just to say ... I did go into a room with Harvey Weinstein, I sat at a table with him, I had a probably two-and-a-half hour conversation with him. He never said anything inappropriate to me, he never made any sort of physical advance to me."
She continued: "I wasn't in the room alone with him. I had been sent there by an agent in the middle of the daytime. I didn't think there was anything wrong. I wouldn't have gone into that room at night. But he did nothing inappropriate toward me. Now had he, I would have picked up that glass and smashed him across the side of the face with it. So I mean, it's all what we're willing to tolerate in our self-esteem, and what are we going to put up with, and what are we going to compromise to be liked, to be loved, to be accepted? How bad do we want to be in show business?"
After the clip caught the attention of Twitter users, Pompeo used the platform to apologize and clarify her words.
"Hey girls sorry if video clips are upsetting!!" she wrote. "Its out of context & it’s too serious a subject to talk about on a platform like this...people who have been abused or assaulted should seek guidance from a therapist... this is not a healthy place for topics this serious."
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In her tweets, the actress incorrectly claimed that the panel came before the landmark New York Times' investigation into Weinstein and helped kickstart the #MeToo movement. Pompeo corrected herself about the timeline leading to her comments but said she hadn't read the coverage at the time.
"Okay so I was just told The Times story was out before this but I didn’t read it ... I only was really following the story on the news once the trial began," she wrote.
Pompeo also added that she was "talking about harassment... not assault," and that she was only sharing her experience with Weinstein, who earlier this year was convicted of rape and other charges, and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
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"For years before times up women had to put up with harassment and still do on a regular basis ...it was just part of the job as it is in a lot or all professions ...we couldn’t complain like we can now," Pompeo said in another tweet. "If we complained we would be out and the man would stay."
Pompeo — who's been an outspoken advocate for equal pay and other causes — added that she's thankful that survivors can "speak up now."
"&MY way of coping w/ whatever situations I’ve been in is not a comment on how other women handle things...," she tweeted. "again Thank God we can speak up now but once again assault and harassment are different both bad but different. Not sure of harassment is seen by law enforcement as a crime."
Also in the full 2018 panel discussion, Pompeo called those in power who prey on others "pigs" who do "disgusting things to women," adding that they are "learned behaviors" after generations of getting away with their indiscretions unscathed.
"First, men need to understand that they will not get away with it, number one. Or women need to understand; I don't mean to be sexist about it — everybody is capable of harassment of any kind, right?" she said during the panel. "So people need to understand that it won't be tolerated, and then I think people need to be educated."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.