In January, Ellen Pompeo became the highest paid woman on network television after signing a new deal that would keep her on Grey’s Anatomy for the next two years for at least $20 million per season. And Ellen Pompeo, the title character on Shonda Rhimes’ long-running medical drama, opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about pay disparity and advocating for herself as the face of the series.

But while Pompeo was initially praised for speaking out about the salary negotiation process and fighting for her worth, many *incorrectly speculated* that the actress’ new salary was behind two longtime Grey’s cast members — Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew — leaving the series.

Ellen Pompeo was quick to address the sexist rumor.

The actress initially took to Twitter to deny it, and now, she’s opened up about the Grey’s Anatomy casting decision — which was *not* her call — on The Ellen DeGeneres Show:

Considering the dozens of cast members who’ve come and gone during the show’s 14-season run, it’s surprising that people were so quick to point the finger at Ellen Pompeo’s salary.

The actress also reiterated the point she initially made on Twitter regarding how women are often pitted against each other. She said, “I think that it’s important for us to not pit women against each other, and to really dispel the notion that women are always victims. You don’t have to pit us against each other, we’re not enemies, we do lift each other up and support one each other, and we’re not victims. We’re very strong, and we’re capable of many, many things.”

Check out her full conversation with Ellen DeGeneres:

It’s not easy saying goodbye to coworkers without the added awkwardness of scores of people on the internet blaming you for their departures. We admire how honest Pompeo was about Capshaw and Drew leaving the series, and the need to stop pitting women against each other.