“Grey’s” consultant Nikki Weiss discusses Brooke Smith firing

Nikki Weiss, one of the consultants Grey’s Anatomy
used to flesh out the lesbian storyline (read our interview
with Weiss and her business partner Trish Doolan), has
been deluged with emails from angry Grey‘s fans asking questions about
the abrupt end to the Callica romance and Brooke
Smith’s firing.

Weiss, left, and Doolan

Since she can’t answer every email, Nikki sent me a statement for AfterEllen.com
readers giving her take on the events that have unfolded:

I’ve been flooded with emails about the ousted Brooke Smith
and her character Erica. As a consultant for the lesbian story line on Grey‘s,
I just want to reiterate that the producers, cast, writers (and Shonda) were
VERY committed to telling this story when I met with them this past March.
They really wanted to tell it openly and honestly. Writer/Director Trish Doolan
and I spent a few hours with the actresses, producers and writing team. It
was very clear that they had a purpose bringing both of us in through GLAAD.

It is very unfortunate that Brooke has been let go, and so abruptly, however,
I don’t think it came from the people who were in the room with us that day.

I think we have taken one step towards equality and inclusion with the election
of our new President, but two steps back with Prop 8 being passed in CA and
now the demise of a lesbian storyline Greys. Lesbians are so under
represented in the television world… It’s perplexing to me, really. Who
doesn’t want to watch two fabulous women being in their power and being comfortable
with who they are in a relationship with one another? And when the L Word
goes off the air after its last season, how have we progressed in our inclusion
on network and cable television?

What people may not know is that I manage Candis Cayne,
the first transgender actress on a primetime series, Dirty Sexy Money
(also an ABC show) and I can say that her inclusion on the series has been
positive and groundbreaking.

I am hoping that ABC and Grey‘s continues to explore Sara Ramirez’s
character Callie’s journey…whether she discovers that she had just fallen
in love with a person who happened to be a woman (Erica) or we see her struggling
with her sexuality, or another love interest comes to Grey‘s.

And as I have been asked about the character coming to Seattle Grace who
is bisexual and who has also recently been “straightened out by the network,”
I can’t comment on Melissa George and her role because I
was not privy to those discussions when Trish Doolan and I consulted.

As a lesbian woman in the entertainment industry, I can tell you that I will
always fight the good fight for our acceptance and inclusion in the media.

I appreciate all of the emails and all of the feedback I have received. It
does not go unnoticed.

So, more evidence that Smith’s exit was not part of the original plan, a fact
that seems pretty clear by now. Not so clear are the reasons behind the abrupt
decision to kill that storyline, beyond what we’ve
already speculated
. Stay tuned — if we find out more, we’ll share