Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo — the highest-earning actress on a TV drama — faced such a backlash after posting a news story claiming that black newborns are three times more likely to die under the care of white doctors that she returned to social media to explain her decision to post it.
The debate began after Pompeo posted a screenshot of a CNN article claiming “Black newborns [are] 3 times more likely to die when looked after by white doctors,” leading Pompeo to demand investigations into “racism in medicine.”
“These stats are EVERYWHERE… white healthcare professionals in L&D listen UP…. what is the problem ?” the Daredevil star wrote. “You are all out here looking shameful!! Let’s get to the root of this once and for all please. Let’s heal not kill… examine racism in medicine please everyone repost this.”
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These stats are EVERYWHERE… white healthcare professionals in L&D listen UP…. what is the problem ? You are all out here looking shameful!! Let’s get to the root of this once and for all please. Let’s heal not kill… examine racism in medicine please everyone repost this 🙏🏼
The post quickly drew criticism from many of her followers, including healthcare professionals, who pointed out the lack of research that went into why this was happening and the enormous number of black babies who are aborted every year in the United States. The story had been based on a study by researchers at George Mason University who looked at 1.8 million hospital births in Florida between 1992 and 2015. However, the response was so intense that Pompeo returned to Instagram to justify her posting.
“There was a lot of hate and a lot of anger, and I just want to address the healthcare workers and say, if you see that post and you feel defensive, that wasn’t my intention to accuse anybody,” she said “I’m not accusing anybody. These stats are real. They’re everywhere. It’s not just CNN. It’s not fake news. You can look it up.”
Pompeo went on to urge people to feel anger at such injustices:
But let’s think about why that post makes you so defensive and makes you so mad. It should make us mad but not for the reasons you all are mad. It should make us mad, because people should walk into a hospital feeling safe, feeling protected and feeling that they’re going to be OK. And I have news for you people, that’s not how Black women feel when they go in to deliver babies. It’s not how the majority of Black people feel when they go into a hospital to see a white doctor or white nurse or white healthcare professionals. If that makes you feel defensive, then you are part of the problem. Your attitude is part of the problem.
It is not the first time that Ellen Pompeo has faced a backlash from her own social media following. In April, she apologized for a video clip from 2018 where she appeared to sympathize with disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein. The actress later claimed she made the remarks before she knew that Weinstein was a rapist, despite the majority of allegations against him coming out the previous year.