Ellen Pompeo gave a half-assed apology for her awful 2018 Harvey Weinstein comments

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In the fall of 2017, the Harvey Weinstein story broke in a huge way. I remember the lead-up to it, and the rumors that a big exposé was about to drop, and not really believing that it would happen and not really believing that it would make a dent. I was happy to be wrong. Once Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey dropped their exclusives, everything changed. Weinstein’s victims finally felt like the world would listen to their stories. Survivors around the world felt like they could finally speak about what happened to them. There was a massive cultural shift in the way we spoke about Weinstein specifically, and sexual assault and predators generally. I know I wasn’t perfect in how I discussed these issues before and during the massive cultural shift. But I’d like to think that I handled it better than Ellen Pompeo.

Last week, a July 2018 clip of Pompeo speaking to the Oxford Union panel was rediscovered and it was… bad. Keep in mind, this was a good eight to nine months after the Weinstein revelations and well after the Me Too movement happened and Time’s Up was already a thing.

She couched these comments in both-sideism, that women bear responsibility for being sexy and seductive and not *stopping* men from assaulting them. She says in part:

“I think we bear some responsibility, not all, but it takes two to tango for sure. 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. 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?”

[Via People]

This is all just… bad. To say this months after Annabelle Sciorra told her story of Weinstein raping her in her apartment. To say this months after Lupita Nyong’o’s op-ed. To say this months after so many brave women came forward to speak of how Weinstein manipulated, harassed and assaulted them. But what makes this whole thing worse is that Pompeo got on Twitter last week to try to defend herself and she lied a lot and tried to pretend that all of this was out of context:

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.”

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. “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… 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.”

[From People]

“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.” The f–k? She didn’t “read” any of the first-hand accounts of rape, assault and harassment which were detailed in outlets like the New York Times, LA Times, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, People Magazine and a million other blogs and media outlets? She’s acting like she just missed one little article in the Times and she’s trying to “who me??” her way out of saying horrible sh-t months after this scandal shook HER INDUSTRY to its core. Ugh. WTF.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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23 Responses to “Ellen Pompeo gave a half-assed apology for her awful 2018 Harvey Weinstein comments”

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  1. Slacker says:

    Disappointing but not shocking. I’ve heard her interviewed and honestly shes whacky, inappropriate and foul mouthed.

  2. Alissa says:

    can we stop pretending that she’s super awesome already?

  3. CidyKitty(CidySmiley) says:

    None of what she says makes any sense to justify what she said then. She said that she did not read any of the articles.. why on earth did she decide the comment the way she did? That makes her look worse than before.

  4. Miss Margo says:

    Harrassment is literally against the law and grounds for restraining orders. Not shocking that Ellen doesn’t appear to be very bright.

  5. Tina says:

    Do celebrities understand what the term context and the phrase “out of context” truly mean? Because they seem to use it a LOT in situations where clearly, their statements are definitely taken with the context of the conversation /topic of discussion in mind. I watched that video a few weeks ago and I can confirm, not only was this not taken out of context, she made multiple attempts to verify her crappy, problematic and straight up mysognistic viewpoint that women simply just should be smarter and more strong. And she goes on about how SHE would never do that, reminiscent of drew Barrymore’s, ‘I’m quirky and not like other women so if fight back because I’m so scrappy and other women r dainty sluts’. It’s so goddamn insulting to victims. Its so damn self righteous to sit on your high horse and essentially mock victims and tell them they could do better because she would have in her made up hypothetical scenario where she would never ever take crap from any man! And at the same time, and probably the most toxic part of this message is that not once is she placing men in a place of responsibility. Not once does she question why men are allowed to do this, why as a society we enable this behaviour by simply putting onus of responsibility and therefore fault on women. It’s so infuriating and condescending and downright cruel. And then to issue this crap apology to say her quote was taken out of context. I know what she’s trying to do or what she thinks her intentions were. It’s what a lot of women were commenting on the video with stating they agreed because she’s simply telling women to be strong and that we should stand up for ourselves. However, sexual abuse is not the time and place to tell women to be more confident. Sexual assault shouldn’t serve as a backdrop for a woman’s ‘confidence workshop’. I’m sorry, I am ranting, but this is just such a big issue not because this one celeb said it but because these sentiments are constantly echoed by people and this is exactly why people don’t believe victims and if they do, they try and lay blame on them versus finding the perpetrator guilty.

    Ps as a woman in the industry she should understand a very real thing known as power dynamics and the heavy component it plays in how women react to cases of sexual assault especially to a man as powerful as Harvey Weinstein.

    End rant

    • Natalee says:

      Her position in the industry is also way different than most women. She doesn’t really care about doing work outside grey’s anatomy, and it’s unlikely Weinstein could have done much to end her career, since she only does one thing. So she’s seriously lacking in her own context and empathy.

    • Onomo says:

      Amen Tina. Thanks for doing it so I didn’t have to.

      This woman smacks of narcissism to me. She HAS to bring up her experience of HW and seems unable to have any empathy for people HW abused, harassed, gaslit and manipulated. It is really not that hard to be empathetic…

    • emmy says:


      Also, she has the career she has because of a woman. A woman of color, no less. If she doesn’t grasp how L.U.C.K.Y. she is, I can’t help her. You are where you are because of a fellow woman, how about you support your colleagues instead of shitting on them?

      And just because you mentioned Drew. She brings this up at one of those roundtable thingies and you need to watch it because the other women’s faces are a thing of beauty.

      And let’s stop the “be confident” crap. The world is doing everything to make me less confident so that’s just insulting. I’m not always confident, deal with it. This idea of the confident woman makes me want to scream. Yeah, look, I’m doing my best but I’m fighting society here so get off my t*ts.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      “Not once does she question why men are allowed to do this, why as a society we enable this behaviour by simply putting onus of responsibility and therefore fault on women. It’s so infuriating and condescending and downright cruel.”

      All of this. Being able to own that we as a society enable these abuses through the way we talk about women, and being willing to change that is a necessary part of protecting women in advance and promoting equality. Men/boys outside of, as well as within our shared marginalized communities need to see that in order to ever even come close to seeing us as equal. Girls are worth the efforts boys are worth.

  6. Darla says:

    Most celebs are morons, and so are most politicians, and do you know why that is? It’s because most people are morons. Just a majority, which does leave millions who aren’t morons. Still, if you want to find a thoughtful person, well, you’ve got your work cut out for you. There are thoughtful celebrities too, but few and far between and she’s not one of em.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    God, she sounds like Trump. I’ve never liked her. I’ve never liked her even more now. StfU. Jesus Christ it’s getting next to impossible to read what people say. I tried watching that. Halfway I started twitching.

  8. Jen says:

    This is horrible, and it’s made worse by the fact that whenever she’s been called out in the recent past she makes it all about “people don’t like strong women.” No, people just don’t like you, Ellen.

  9. Caroline says:

    She’s halfway to saying “sure I blew a couple of skeevy producers in my day to get a gig, who didn’t lol???”

    anyway, let’s remember it’s Shonda Rhimes who went to Dartmouth and wrote all those words for Meredith and McDreamy, not Pompeo and Dempsey, neither of whom are very smart.

  10. Awkward symphony says:

    Another privileged Meryl Streep like idiot who’ll be forgiven once she donates to a charity and gets photographed with activists🙄 Hollywood is unfortunately full of pretentious fools like this who pretend to be something but act differently.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    This mass of excuses for asshole men, I cannot. I hate this.

  12. SKF says:

    She would have been better off saying:

    “Obviously I was ignorant and it took a lot of work to rid my self of my internalised misogyny. I look back at those comments and shudder at what a judgmental jackass I was. Clearly I was wrong and I apologise wholeheartedly for these comments. Please be assured that I do not believe this anymore and I have educated myself. I now stand with the victims, as I should always have done. Here’s a donation to xyz.”

    That would have shut it down. When they make these lame excuses it always backfires on them.

    Mind you, she probably still thinks this way – that she is better, smarter, less slutty, superior.

    Ah well, I stopped watching GA after season 2, I personally find her irrelevant. Happy days when it finally gets cancelled and she fades from view.

  13. LunaSF says:

    There are so many women who think like her unfortunately! My husband is from Waco and when Baylor had a bunch of rape allegations against their football team a while back his stepmom actually said “what did these girls expect was going to happen, going over to these men’s dorms in the middle of the night.” I think my jaw hit the floor. They probably didn’t expect to get raped! It’s so sad this is how we treat assault in 2020, by blaming women for men’s behavior.

  14. Annie says:

    I’ve heard so many Hollywood people talk like her. After Harvey was sentenced, a producer I know posted the same thing on Facebook. He said that “we need to talk about the actresses who sleep their way to the top and who use directors and producers to get roles.” I honestly could not believe it. Even if there are some women who are willing to do that, it has nothing to do with rape victims. If you choose to trade your body for roles I assume that is consensual. To put rape cases at the same level as women who are an in transactional business relationships is insulting for both groups of women. Also, let’s be honest, that’s sexism. How many actresses do you really think need to do that? It’s all part of the same sexism that affects all of us. If you do well in your job, you must have slept your way to the top. If you claim a guy raped you, you probably said yes but regretted it. It’s all part of the same disgusting sexism that follows us everywhere.

    Screw Ellen Pompeo. You are no better than the victims just because it didn’t happen to you. It can happen to any of us at any point in our lives. Don’t feel so safe. This world is dangerous for women everywhere.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Thank you so much for bringing up that vital, yet unpopular point. It’s a reminder we all need from time, especially on any sites like these, but in general too. Promoting unverified rumors about, or outing women as sex workers without their consent does not help, it can only harm in a patriarchal culture. People have actually tried to promote the idea that this is saving women somehow (both sincerely and as a disingenuous justification for doing it) but it’s really just another way of violating women, weaponizing their bodies, and encouraging harassment and violence.

      It’s important to remember that in a lifetime, a girl/woman can witness (or experience) a lot of discrimination and different forms of abuse directed both at sex workers and women who are considered sl*ts. You never really know if a woman is psychologically/emotionally ready to be on the receiving end of how this world treats ‘that kind of girl’, and it’s not about being a ‘Strong Woman’. Even if she is, the potential behavior of every misogynist in the world who’s been taught that girls/women on that side of the dichotomy are trash and bring things on themselves also has to be considered.