Ellen Pompeo in red dress

Ellen Pompeo defends her pay rise after announcement that co-stars are to depart show

Ellen Pompeo began starring on the show in 2005

Emmy Griffiths

Ellen Pompeo has been forced to defend her pay rise after viewers accused her wages on Grey's Anatomy as the reason why two long-time cast members, Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew, are departing the show. Addressing Deadline, who were first to break the news, Ellen tweeted: "It's unfortunate that @DEADLINE chooses to try to pit women against each other on #InternationalWomensDay #shameonyounotme," adding:"I'm a big girl @DEADLINE can take shots at me if they want but to the fans please don't fall into that trap. This is above my pay grade."

ellen-pompeo-event

Ellen took to Twitter to dispute the reports

Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff was quick to defend Ellen, writing: "The suggestion… that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo's salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided. 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 passionately for her fellow cast members, she 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."

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Ellen penned an essay about her salary change for Grey's Anatomy for Vanity Fairin Janaury, writing: "At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than [her male co-star, Patrick Dempsey] 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? It's my show… I'm not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house." Jessica posted a touching message on Twitter following the news, writing: "I am sad to see [Arizona] go but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations."

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