Denzel Washington Responds To Ellen Pompeo's Claim That She Cursed Him Out On Set

The Grey's Anatomy star said last year that the two once went toe-to-toe on the set of the medical drama.
Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images

Denzel Washington has brushed off a viral story about a confrontation he once allegedly had with Ellen Pompeo on the set of Grey’s Anatomy.

In an interview with Variety published earlier this week, the two-time Oscar winner was asked about the alleged fight, which Ellen spoke about on her Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo podcast in September.

The Grey’s Anatomy claimed she’d once cursed Denzel out while he was directing The Sound of Silence, an episode of the medical drama that aired in 2016.

However, Denzel declined to give Ellen’s story any more momentum.

“No, no,” he told Variety, claiming he didn’t remember that day. The actor-producer-director then added with a slight grin, “But it’s all good,” according to the publication.

Ellen made headlines in September when she gave her account of working on the Grey’s Anatomy set with Denzel.

Ellen Pompeo
Ellen Pompeo
RB/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

The actor – who plays Meredith Grey in the series – claimed that although “working with Denzel was amazing,” he “went nuts” on her one day when she improvised and went off-script in a scene during an exchange with another actor.

“Denzel went ham on my ass,” she told her former co-star Patrick Dempsey on the podcast. “He was like, ‘I’m the director, don’t you tell him what to do.’”

“And I was like, ‘Listen, motherfucker, this is my show, this is my set, who are you telling? Like, you barely know where the bathroom is,’” she recalled.

Ellen said she has the “utmost respect” for Denzel, but that there was a period after the alleged incident where she stopped talking to him. ”[That’s] actors for you,” she said. “Passionate and fiery.”

“That’s where you get the magic, that’s where you get the good stuff,” she told Patrick, adding that it was still an “amazing experience” to have worked with Denzel on set.

She later said she and the Tragedy Of Macbeth star “were fine” after the ordeal.

But Ellen drew backlash for the story, with some on social media saying the interaction was a demonstration of white privilege.

“I wonder if she’d talk to [Martin] Scorsese or [Steven] Spielberg like that?” MSNBC host Tiffany Cross tweeted in September.

Denzel’s most recent film as director, A Journal for Jordan, stars Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams, and was released to US cinemas earlier this month.

Read the entire Variety profile here.


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