Ellen Pompeo, the highest-paid woman on TV, made use of her power recently during a panel on women in TV for Net-A-Porter. "This day has been incredible. And there's a ton of women in the room. But I don't see enough colour. And I didn't see enough colour when I walked in the room today," Pompeo said. Her point was that the crew — the people manning the cameras and ensuring the lighting was perfect — didn't reflect the diverse makeup of the world around her."
"I think it's up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see," Pompeo added. "As caucasian people, it's our job."
The full panel, which runs about 24 minutes in total, can be viewed in full below. Actresses Gabrielle Union, Emma Roberts, and Gina Rodriguez rounded out the discussion.
Pompeo recently made headlines for her sizeable role in Grey's Anatomy, one of the most successful TV shows today. In 2o17, she signed a deal for three more seasons of the show — up to season 16 — that will also bring in up to £15 million per year. She became a producer on Grey's as well as an EP on the Grey's spinoff Station 19. Pompeo wields a lot of power in television right now, and she's not afraid to use it. She's also not afraid to be candid, as she has been in many interviews this year. ("I'm not fuckin' Julia Roberts," she told The Hollywood Reporter.)
Pompeo is also among a growing class of Shonda Rhimes-born actors, all of whom carry Rhimes' standards into the industry-at-large. Rhimes famously cast her shows colour-blind; Grey's has always been leading the pack in terms of cast and crew diversity. (This season, three episodes in a row were directed by women, two of whom were women of colour. One of those women was a former member of the Grey's Anatomy crew.) With Grey's and Scandal and, now, Station 19, Rhimes has effectively built a sort of television university: a place where stars are groomed to become tomorrow's boundary-breakers and leaders. And with eight new Netflix shows on the lineup, Rhimes' forward-leaning empire is only going to grow.