On Thursday, Deadline announced that Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew will be leaving Grey’s Anatomy after this season.
The announcement left fans shocked, with many flocking to social media to express their sadness, and, for many, anger.
Even Jesse Williams took to Twitter to vocalize his feelings about the news. “Sarah and Jessica are easily among my very favorite people and coworkers, so this news fuckin sucks. Their immense talent speaks for itself but it’s them as people that I’m so grateful to know, privileged to have worked with and learned from. To say they’ll be missed is a massive understatement. Luckily for us, we’ll get to see these artists continue bringing compelling and complex characters to life for many moons to come! #OurWorkIsForever”
So why are Capshaw and Drew leaving the show? According to Deadline, “The decision was made by the producers who at the start of each season have to formally pick up the option of each regular cast member.”
On Thursday afternoon, Sarah Drew informed her fans that the news is fresh and she’s still digesting it. On Twitter, the actress wrote, “Hey guys. Thank you for all of the love. I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had much time to process this information. I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later 🙂 For now, I’d like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn’t over yet. And the really good news (for me, at least), is that I’m here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Greys family all this week and next, so I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am so grateful.”
The decision for the two actors not to be brought back comes soon after it was announced that Ellen Pompeo will be on the show for two more seasons. Her continuation on the show was also announced with a “pact that gave her a significant salary increase, paying her as much as $20 million a year,” writes Deadline.
Dedicated fans have taken to social media to question whether or not Pompeo’s salary increase had anything to do with Capshaw and Drew’s exits.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff holds this isn’t true. On Twitter, she writes, “The suggestion… that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo’s salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided… Ellen Pompeo has not only advocated passionately for her fellow cast members, she has taken the time to educate women as to how to advocate for themselves and that must not be twisted. The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one.”