'Grey's Anatomy' star Ellen Pompeo once cut Shonda Rhimes off while she was speaking about racism to say she's OK with ignorance 'if any good comes out of' it, according to new book

Ellen Pompeo attends 2021 Emmys. Rich Fury/Getty Images
New details have been revealed in a new book about Ellen Pompeo's interview with the BBC in 2015.

Pompeo cut off Shonda Rhimes while she was discussing Hollywood's racism.

Pompeo was crying when she left the room. Her behavior was "very disruptive," according to the reporter.

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Ellen Pompeo, star of "Grey's Anatomy", walked away from an interview once in tears after she cut off Shonda Rhimes while discussing Hollywood racism.

Lynette Rice, Entertainment Weekly editor at large, published the uncomfortable interview in a new, unauthorized oral story of Grey's Anatomy's veteran medical drama. It was called "How to Save a Life" and it details the 2015 interview.

Melissa Maerz, a journalist at Entertainment Weekly, recounts the awkward interview she had with former ABC stars of "TGIT," including Pompeo, Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder).

Maerz asked Rhimes for his opinion on Alessandra Stan's New York Times article in which Davis was criticized for being "less classically beautiful than" lighter-skinned actresses. Rhimes replied that Davis was less beautiful than those with darker skin. The journalist asked: Did anything positive come out of Stanley's backlash?

Rhimes was halfway through her sentence when Pompeo interrupted her and said, "If there is any good out of ignorance, then that's what I'll do." Davis sighs. After Rhimes had cried, Pompeo left the room.

Maerz called Pompeo’s comment "a record-scratching moment."

Viola Davis and Kerry Washington, actresses, attend the TGIT Premiere at Palihouse in West Hollywood on September 20, 2014. Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

"Was she really saying, "If there was any good out of racism then it was okay with her?" Maerz asked rhetorically. "And why was Pompeo responding to a question that had absolutely nothing to do with her show or her show?"

Maerz said that Ellen regretted her words immediately and didn't want to be too obvious by crying in front others.

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Insider reached out directly to representatives for Pompeo, Rhimes, and Davis but did not receive a response immediately.

After Pompeo left the interview in 2015, Davis answered Maerz's question by saying that "Colorism in this country is so powerful that the Jim Crow Laws are gone but what's left are a mindset."

John Sciulli/Getty

Pompeo has spoken out about racism in the past and doesn't shy away from talking about Hollywood's lack of diversity. The actress, who is married to Chris Ivery and has three children of biracial descent, views this as a personal matter.

Pompeo stated that he is not afraid to discuss race during an episode of Red Table Talk in 2018. It's common for people to be nervous about bringing up race, and I can understand why. These are important conversations that you need to have. If you are afraid to discuss them, that is a problem.

"How to Save a Life" provides fans with unprecedented details about some of the most controversial moments throughout "Grey's Anatomy's 16-year history. In depth, the show's most controversial cast departures and most memorable episodes are also covered.

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