Open Letter to the Grey’s Anatomy fans, cast, and crew:
I’ve been a Grey’s Anatomy fan since 2005. I’ve had my Twitter account since 2009. I remember the ‘good old days,’ like in 2013 when Ellen Pompeo first joined Twitter and would tweet super random things and loved interacting with us. The Grey’s Anatomy fandom is (for the most part) an incredibly supportive community that I’ve generally enjoyed taking part in. I’ve met some of my best friends there. However, in recent years, particularly since 2015, I have noticed an increasingly negative side of that community.
As it stands right now, the Grey’s fandom on Twitter is an incredibly toxic environment and appears to consist of whiny, entitled teenagers who seem to think it’s acceptable to direct their complaints about characters and storylines to the cast, writers, and/or crew involved. Let me be very clear about this point:
It’s not acceptable. Period.
These are people who dedicate their lives to creating stories and characters for us as fans. They work 18+ hour days an awful lot of the time. Much of the cast has remained and continues to remain at Grey’s because of the fans. However, as of late, fans show absolutely no respect for these people and it continually astounds me how you treat them. You have all contributed to a fandom that has successfully alienated the cast and crew of a show you all claim to love. Caterina rarely tweets. Jessica doesn’t interact with any of you, and in fact unfollowed most of the fans she did follow. Justin avoided Twitter for months. Ellen can’t be asked 95% of the time, and I truly believe that this is a direct result of supposed “fans” either a) simply being incredibly rude [yet expecting respectful responses back?!?!], or b) complaining because storylines on the show aren’t going as you would like them to.
Recently, one fan (jokingly?) tweeted Krista Vernoff, who has only recently returned to Grey’s as an executive producer, that they would “burn down her house” if she didn’t do right by their ‘ship.’ Threats like this are not a joke to these people – who have had to deal with incidents such as fans showing up on their doorsteps and calling their phones, for example. Fans like that have instilled fear into the hearts of this cast. You have no boundaries and zero respect for their privacy. The cast, though being celebrities, are everyday people like us. They are entitled to their privacy. You don’t get to demand access into their lives simply because you are a fan. Stop acting like it’s your God-given right.
To the many MerDer fans I know who have a tendency to slut-shame Meredith for being with other men since Derek: that’s simply not fair. It has been two years since his death for us as viewers, and longer in the Grey’s timeline. While I admit, as a diehard MerDer fan myself, it pains me to watch Mer move on, I think it’s important to realize that Meredith (and all widows) have every right to move on – on their timeline, and at their choosing. You wouldn’t slut shame a widow in your own life, would you?
To the many “fans” who once loved MerDer, once loved Patrick as much as they love Ellen, who now bash Patrick for leaving: you have NO reason to consistently bash a man who, despite your best attempts at denial, helped make Grey’s Anatomy what it was. For years, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey were the face of the show. MerDer is a huge part of pop culture and even if a person didn’t watch the show, chances were they could identify MerDer, or at the very least Ellen and/or Patrick. Simply put,
you don’t know what happened. No one, except the members of the cast who were on set at the time, know what happened. It’s likely we will never know. And, we are not entitled to that knowledge. Really, it’s none of our business. Shonda and the rest of the cast and crew are done talking about it. You need to be too.
To the fans who tweet negative things about a character simply to get a rise out of others: we all see how you do this and then play the victim when said character’s fans go on the defense. You just create more drama and add to the toxic nature of the fandom. It’s ugly. You try and then claim how “you don’t know me” and how “I’m a good person.” Well, do the rest of us a favor and show us that so-called good character through your ACTIONS. If your timeline is full of you calling other fans words I will not repeat here, it’s hard to assume you are a decent person. It’s really not that hard to keep your mouth shut if you don’t like someone or something. I’m guessing though, that most of your parents never taught you that principle of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.” However, the same goes for those who jump to the defense of their favorite characters - be respectful or don’t say anything.
To the MANY so-called fans who, for the past nine months, have consistently slandered Ellen Pompeo, who send her hateful comments every time she tweets about racism, who call her 'Ms. Reverse Racism’ (among other things), and then cry victim when Ellen responds in kind, congrats! You have created a culture where it’s seen as “cool” to hate the star of your favorite show, to tear her down, and to tear her fans down. It’s clear you also enjoy actively seeking out her fans who continue to support her and harassing them as well. You also have been caught tweeting hateful things to lay people who aren’t involved in the Grey’s fandom but have met her, and that is completely and utterly vile.
It is also quite evident to many of us that those who attack Ellen and call her a reverse racist do not fully understand the issue at hand. Ellen has three biracial children. Her husband is black. You cannot honestly think that, even as a white woman with privilege, it doesn’t strike fear into her heart that perhaps one day her husband might be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong law enforcement officer(s)? That her children won’t experience racism and hatred on the playground or in class one day? A mother’s heart bleeds when her children are in pain. Ellen wants better for her children than what is happening in America today. She is 100% an ally and is on the right side, fighting against racism and discrimination every day – despite your extremely misguided opinions. She is also not wrong in that racism comes in many forms. It occurs at a systematic level, at a community level, at an individual level. The issue is FAR more complex than you all make it out to be – it is not, for lack of better words, a black and white issue. There are many issues at play here.
Yes, sometimes we have to educate those fighting on the front lines with us. Rather than attacking someone for using the wrong words, educate them. And by educate, that does not mean attacking them, calling them fat, calling them a white bitch, etc. As Krista herself said, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. The way to educate your allies is with kindness, empathy, and respect. You also might have more success if you were respectful - rather than being disrespectful and expecting Ellen’s respect back. She is not a woman who respects those who disrespect her. Respect is earned. You are not automatically entitled to it. Don’t alienate your allies. Ellen has a huge platform and is using it to raise awareness of so many important social justice and environmental issues. And if you don’t like it, or if you take issue with which emoji colors she uses…there is a handy little unfollow button at the top right on her profile. There is also a block button, where you won’t be privy to anything she tweets. Make use of these.
In recent weeks, some of my own friends have left the fandom because they could no longer handle the toxic environment. For their own mental health and well-being, they had to leave. That’s sad. These people love the cast, they love the characters, but they no longer feel safe expressing that anymore. This feeling of not being safe has also come about as a direct result of “group chat” accounts, where multiple people have access to the same account. These people use these groups as a medium to publicly post their “jokes” - many of which are in fact harmful. Your group chat accounts aren’t cute. You can claim that the intent was a joke all you want, but that doesn’t negate the harm you do. You don’t get to say hateful things and then dictate how others respond, under the claim that “it’s a joke.” Be more conscious of your words, and how they have consequences, unintended as they may be. Truthfully, it is much easier to simply think about the things you say than to undo the harm, regardless of your intent.
Ellen, in her 2016 speech accepting the award for 'Best TV Drama’ at the People’s Choice Awards, said that “Our show is about understanding, and compassion, and tolerance, and kindness. And those are themes that we could all use more of.” Let’s make this fandom reflect that as well. Be kinder to the cast and crew and show them some respect. Be kinder to each other. Be more accepting. We all have different favourite characters and different reasons for having those favourites. We each bring different perspectives and experiences to the table. Let’s try to recognize that and create a culture of respect for each other. It’s perfectly fine to disagree on things. What’s not okay is to brutally attack each other, to treat each other with rudeness and hatred. At the end of the day, we all love the same TV show: Grey’s Anatomy.
Finally, on behalf of the 99% of the Grey’s fandom to whom 1% gives a bad name, I would like to extend my apologies to the Grey’s Anatomy cast, crew and writers for the behavior of this small group of fans who have overtaken our fandom and appear to represent us. There is a vast majority of fans who are incredible people that greatly respect and admire the work you all do. We are just outshadowed by the negative. It’s time for that to change.
Look what you made me do. Adriana (@swiftxgreys on Twitter)
Hello, old friend. And here we are. You and me, on the last page. By
the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone. So know
that we lived well and were very happy. And above all else, know that we
will love you always. Sometimes I do worry about you though. I think
once we’re gone you won’t be coming back here for awhile. And you might
be alone. Which you should never be. Don’t be alone, Doctor. And do one
more thing for me. There’s a little girl waiting in a garden. She’s
going to wait a long while, so she’s going to need a lot of hope. Go to
her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she’s patient, the days are
coming that she’ll never forget. Tell her she’ll go to see and fight
pirates. She’ll fall in love with a man who’ll wait two thousand years
to keep her safe. Tell her she’ll give hope to the greatest painter who
ever lived. And save a whale in outer space. Tell her, this is the story
of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends.