Ellen Pompeo isn’t a doctor, but she plays one on TV. She’s also fed up “old white guy TV docs” weighing in on the coronavirus — a comment aimed at TV personalties Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Dr. Mehmet Oz, all of whom have stirred up controversy with their remarks about the pandemic.
Pompeo, famed for playing Dr. Meredith Grey on the long-running ABC medical series Grey’s Anatomy, took to Twitter on Saturday to criticize protesters who are fighting stay-at-home orders. “This isn’t about them,” the actress tweeted, adding that staying home helped protect doctors, nurses and other hospital workers on the front line.
She then took a jab at McGraw and Oz, who last week received backlash for urging businesses to reopen despite the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission. Heart surgeon Oz, known to TV viewers as ‘Dr. Oz,” issued a statement admitting he “misspoke” on Friday, following uproar over his interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity. Oz had discussed the possibility of schools reopening, which “may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality” — a comment critics found callous. Meanwhile, McGraw — who, despite his popular “Dr. Phil” branding, is not a medical doctor but rather a currently unlicensed psychologist — got heat for using incorrect data when he argued to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that the economy should not be shut down over the coronavirus, which he compared to deaths tied to lung cancer, car crashes and drowning in swimming pools. On Friday, McGraw walked back his remarks and noted that he had provided “bad examples” as those other causes of death are not contagious. And Pinsky apologized earlier this month for his past comments downplaying the coronavirus and comparing it to the flu. “I got it wrong,” the former Loveline and Celebrity Rehab host, who is an internist and addiction medicine specialist, admitted.
Pompeo, for one, isn’t impressed.
Related: Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil Under Fire for Their COVID-19 Opinions
“The old white guy TV docs who say stupid selfish s*** should yes ... walk that s*** right back to your [La-Z-Boys] and sit your stupid a**** down in your living rooms on your golf courses where you live,” she tweeted. “Tired out-of-touch old fools don’t get me started today.”
Acknowledging that she too is a “TV doc” of sorts, the star urged the talk show and podcast hosts to stop “making careless statements ... when so many health care workers are suffering physically and emotionally.”
Responding to a comic and TV host W. Kamau Bell’s own tweet mocking McGraw, Pinsky and Oz, the mom of three added, “They have been so busy in their dressing rooms getting their faces powdered and worrying about their ratings ... they have no idea what doctors and health care professionals on the front lines actually do, or they just don’t care.”
The actress has been vocal about her support for medical professionals since the crisis began, speaking out about shortages of protective gear and sending messages of thanks to doctors and nurses. Grey’s Anatomy was also one of a handful of medical shows donating gloves, gowns and other equipment to hospitals.
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