She took to social media to respond to an article on Deadline which implied that Ellen Pompeo's recent salary increase may be part of the reason Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw are exiting the medical drama after Season 14. Back in January, Pompeo signed a two-year deal and will now earn $20 million per year, making her the highest paid dramatic actress on television, and some have speculated that the show could no longer afford Drew and Capshaw. In a statement released on Twitter, Vernoff called the implication hurtful and sexist.
"The suggestion in that Deadline article that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo's salary negotiation is 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 wrote.
She went on to defend her Grey's star, saying, "Ellen Pompeo had 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." Vernoff then reiterated that the decision to let go of Drew and Capshaw was a creative choice, not a financial one.
Ellen Pompeo also spoke up about the rumors on Twitter. "Its unfortunate that @DEADLINE chooses to try to pit women against eachother on #InternationalWomensDay #shameonyounotm," she wrote. "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."
Grey's Anatomy continues Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.