When Ellen Pompeo walked onto the set of the all-women panel interview she was filming for Net-a-Porter she noticed something that made her feel uncomfortable. There were hardly any people of colour in the room.
She held her tongue at the time – as did fellow actress Gabrielle Union. But when the on-camera discussion turned to issues of racial representation she decided to call out Porter magazine for what she saw.
“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,” the Grey’s Anatomy star said.
Ellen wasn’t referring to the panel itself, which was also made up of Emma Roberts, Gina Rodriguez and Gabrielle Union, but of the crew behind the scenes.
Watch Ellen calling it as she sees it:
The 49-year-old said it was an example of a much larger problem that she sees across Hollywood and identifies as her duty to address whenever she comes across.
“And meeting with a director of another endorsement project that I’m doing, I said: ‘You know, when I show up on set, I would like to see the crew look like the world that I walk around in every day.’
“And I think it’s up to all productions to make sure your crew looks like the world we see.
“As caucasian people, it’s our job, it’s our task, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we speak up in every single room we walk into, that this is not OK, and we can all do better. It’s our job, because we’ve created the problem.”
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The impassioned comments elicited approving looks from both Gina and Gabrielle, who later explained that she too had noticed the lack of diversity on set, but had felt she couldn’t bring it up.