‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Showrunner Squashes Idea That Ellen Pompeo’s Pay Led to Cast Exits

Krista Vernoff calls the idea “wrong and hurtful and misguided”

“Grey’s Anatomy” showrunner Krista Vernnoff is shutting down any suggestion that Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw’s exit from the long-running series has anything to do with star Ellen Pompeo’s mammoth salary.

Shortly after news of Drew’s and Capshaw’s exit Thursday morning, Vernoff took to Twitter to say that any 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,” she continued. She added that Pompeo has been an advocate not only for herself, but for her colleagues and women around the world.

“The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one,” Vernoff said definitively. “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.”

Pompeo also responded on Twitter, saying it was “unfortunate” that women were pitted against each other on International Women’s Day, and she warned fans not to “fall into that trap.”

“This is above my pay grade,” she said.

ABC announced that series regulars Drew and Capshaw would be leaving the series after the current 14th season. Both actresses expressed gratitude at being able to portray such beloved characters, and creator Shonda Rhimes said “it’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters.”

See Vernoff’s and Pompeo’s tweets below.