Grey’s Anatomy leading lady Ellen Pompeo has defended comments from an Oxford Union appearance in 2018, in which she appeared to express some sympathy for now convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein was last month sentenced to 23 years in prison, in what was the climax of a case that sparked the #MeToo movement and encouraged women to speak out against sexual abuse.
More sexual assault charges look set to be leveled against the former Hollywood executive heavyweight, who recently beat COVID-19 while at the Wende Correctional Facility outside of Buffalo, New York.
With the aftershocks of the allegations against Weinstein still being felt, Pompeo has now also found herself in the eye of the storm for comments she made in 2018, months after The New Yorker and The New York Times had already ran explosive articles about his sexually predatory behaviour.
The Grey’s Anatomy actress, 50, made her comments during an hour-long Q&A at Oxford Union in which she discussed the allegations against the now-disgraced movie mogul and appeared to place some of the blame on the victims by saying things like, “I think we bear some responsibility” and “it takes two to tango, for sure.”
Pompeo’s full response during the now-viral 2018 panel to a question on how Hollywood should change began with her saying that “many things need to happen,” starting with the fact that predators need to know that they won’t get away with it.
“I’m not going to make excuses for these pigs in Hollywood who do disgusting things to women,” she says, positing that much of the bad behavior is learned from older generations. Almost two years later, Pompeo defended some of her responses on twitter.
“Hey girls sorry if video clips are upsetting!! It’s 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,” she said responding to one critical fan.
In a lengthy thread, she went on to explain herself further.
“For those who feel offended or are taking this personally this panel was 2 + years ago and it was way before the whole stories of the women came out. I Certainly didn’t know he was a rapist at that point … that took s— to a whole different level.”
Pompeo went on to say that her comments related to sexual harassment and not assault.
“And… I’m talking about harassment… not assault. Two different things. I was speaking about MY experience of being harassed in Hollywood and my outlook on it”.
“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. If we complained we would be out and the man would stay.”