Ellen Pompeo Calls for Diversity and Gabrielle Union's Reaction Says It All
In an intimate, 24-minute conversation, Net-a-Porter’s “Women In Television” — Gina Rodriguez, Ellen Pompeo, Gabrielle Union, and Emma Roberts — spoke candidly about diversity and equal pay in their industry.
The women began by addressing pay inequality, recanting the issues they’ve faced and sharing how they have and plan to continually fight. The unanimous solution? Banding together and speaking up.
Union revealed that she and several fellow actresses up for the same role repeatedly turned down a disappointing offer in order to give the frontrunner a salary she deserved. "I lose nothing by making sure you get your money," she explained.
Roberts spoke to the bureaucratic attempts to keep actresses happy with less than equal pay, revealing that she’s taken roles when she knew she’d be paid less than her male counterpart because she was told another actress would “take it in a heartbeat.”
The conversation shifted to issues of industry diversity (or lack thereof).
“You cannot center or amplify a voice that is not real or valid in your own personal life,” Union said of women bolstering marginalized groups that they don’t personally interact with.
“I had to reevaluate what a good school is for my black children,” she continued, “and that means 40 minutes away, so they’re not the chips in the cookie.”
Pompeo, whose children with music producer husband Chris Ivery are biracial, revealed that as a white woman she believes it’s her duty to help diversify her kids’ school. “From my perspective, I love my children’s school, and I wanted them to go there, and I wanted to make that school better. And I love the challenge of having an ongoing conversation to make this place a better place of learning and to educate them and pound at that door, and pound at that door, and pound at that door until I see the change.”
“This day has been incredible, and there’s a ton of women in the room,” the Grey’s Anatomy star continued, “but I don’t see enough color. And I didn’t see enough color when I walked in the room today.” (Check Gabrielle Union’s reaction at 16:40).
“When I show up on set, I would like to see the crew look like the world I walk around in all day,” Pompeo went on. “As Caucasian people, it’s our job, it’s our task, it’s our responsibility to speak up in every single room we walk into, that this is not OK, and we can all do better.”
Rodriguez agreed: “What a more rich existence to just be culturally open. To see other people’s perspective is enriching to yourself. It’s so much more enriching to be like, ‘That’s a perspective I don’t know, but guess what? I do now, because I watched my girl go through it and live it, and now I know so much more.”
Queens, all of them.