Net-A-Porter invited Gina Rodriguez, Ellen Pompeo, Gabrielle Union, and Emma Roberts to discuss inequality in the entertainment industry for a digital segment called "The Big Television Debate." But mid-interview, Pompeo called out the fashion company for their own lack of diversity on set.
As Pompeo spoke with her fellow actresses, she said onstage, "It's more rewarding when I see results and open people's eyes." And then she did just that.
"This day has been incredible, and there's a ton of women in the room, but I don't see enough color, and I didn't see enough color when I walked in the room today," Pompeo said, directing her focus at the Net-A-Porter staff.
She then shared how this is not the first time she's been forced to speak up.
“I had a meeting with a director of another endorsement project that I’m doing where 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,’” Pompeo said. “I think it’s up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see.”
Her statements begin around the 16:20 mark in the 24-minute interview below.
On social media, many commended Pompeo for being an ally to people of color.
1) White people sometimes ask me how they can be an ally. @EllenPompeoputs on a master class in how to be one.
2) @itsgabrielleu’s facial expressions are a whole ass mood.
pic.twitter.com/niEQfPPdMI — Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 20, 2018
I am Gabrielle Union nodding on my woke white friends using their platform to make the world better. https://t.co/nFjIt4ydIp — Joelle Monique ✍🏾 (@JoelleMonique) November 19, 2018
Pompeo has been known to stand up for causes she believes in — whether they benefit herself or others.
In January, the Grey's Anatomy star spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about how she managed to negotiate a $20 million salary after her male co-star left the series.
"For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — 'We don't need you; we have Patrick' — which they did for years. I don't know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey's Anatomy and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn't give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn't I? It's my show; I'm the number one. I'm sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, 'I'm not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.'"