The film industry is indeed glamorous, but it comes with conditions. If a person is famous and makes good money, they find success at their feet. However, it’s not the case for everyone, as there is still a significant disparity between men and women working in the industry.
Renowned actress Ellen Pompeo has been vocal about the industry’s misogynistic approach. During an interview, Pompeo shared how she learned to demand what she deserves, yet the industry’s challenges kept her from getting what she deserved. The actress went on to recount many incidents in which she fought her way through and emerged as a rebel.
Ellen Pompeo fought for her rights
Ellen Pompeo is a renowned actress who has delivered incredible performances throughout her career. Over time, she has established herself in the industry. However, her journey to success wasn’t easy, as she faced her fair share of struggles. There was a time when Pompeo was the highest-paid woman on dramatic TV.
With series like Grey’s Anatomy, she not only earned a meteoric rise in her career but also saw a significant increase in her fortune. Her 2005 TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, generated $3 billion, and as the lead protagonist of the series, Pompeo decided to demand her rightful share. The actress said,
“Grey’s has generated nearly $3 billion for Disney. When your face and your voice have been part of something that’s generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, Okay, maybe I do deserve a piece of this.”
However, her battle wasn’t over here, as the makers of the show used her co-star Patrick Dempsey’s presence as a way to pressure her into accepting lower pay. Pompeo said,
“They could always use him as leverage against me—‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’—which they did for years.”
Furthermore, the actress revealed that she asked for just $5,000 more than what Patrick was getting. She clarified that she did so because she was the lead protagonist of the series, and based on that principle, she indeed deserved more or at least fair pay. However, she couldn’t convince the producer as they refused to give her extra money.
The actress went on to elucidate the concerning misogynistic approach prevailing in the industry. The actress revealed that when Dempsey’s run on the show ended, the ratings of the show spiked. But as soon as he departed from the show, the TV network decided to introduce a new male love interest for her character. The actress recalled,
“They’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘I was like, ‘Are you people crazy? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’ I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt the need to get a male character back in there.”
The actress pointed out the shallow thinking of the makers who believed that a female actor could not lead a show alone.
Ellen Pompeo reflected on the harsh reality of the industry
With all her experiences and ups and downs in the industry, Ellen Pompeo firmly believes that fame and accolades are fine, but if one needs to endure the industry’s norms, ‘money is power.’ The actress further reflected on the harsh reality of the industry. Pompeo said,
“I’m not necessarily perceived as successful, either, but a 24-year-old actress with a few big movies is, even though she’s probably being paid poorly—certainly less than her male co-star and probably with no backend. And they’re going to exploit her until she’s 33 or 34, and then she’s out like yesterday’s trash, and then what does she have to take care of herself?”
Further, the actress emphasized that if we want to see a change in the industry, the pay disparity has to be eliminated, and everyone should be treated fairly in the industry.