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

The "Grey's Anatomy" star said in September that the two once went toe to toe when Washington directed an episode of the ABC drama.

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

In an interview for a Variety profile published Thursday, the two-time Oscar winner was asked about the alleged fight, which Pompeo described on her “Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo” podcast in September. Pompeo said she’d once cursed Washington out while he was directing “The Sound of Silence,” an episode of the ABC series that aired in 2016.

Washington, though, declined to give Pompeo’s story any more momentum.

“No, no,” he told Variety in this week’s article, 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. (Read the entire Variety profile here.)

Pompeo made headlines in September when she gave her account of working on the “Grey’s” set with Washington.

Director Denzel Washington on the set of "A Journal for Jordan," starring Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams, on March 9, 2021, in New York City.
Director Denzel Washington on the set of "A Journal for Jordan," starring Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams, on March 9, 2021, in New York City.
Jose Perez/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 “Grey’s” 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.

Pompeo said she has the “utmost respect” for Washington, 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 Dempsey, adding that it was still an “amazing experience.”

She later said she and Washington “were fine” after the ordeal.

But Pompeo 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.

Washington’s most recent film as director, “A Journal for Jordan,” stars Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams. The movie hit theaters on Christmas Day.

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