Grey’s Anatomy writer allegedly faked illnesses used in storylines
One of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ best-known writers has been placed on administrative leave amid concerns she made up elements of her personal life, including a battle with bone cancer, abortion and sexual harassment, which ‘She’s weaved in plotlines for the series and portrayed in essays she’s written for major publications.
Admittedly, the long-running ABC medical drama is known for taking real events and turning them into fictional scenarios, as the industry website the pinner noted during a report on the strange case of Elisabeth Finch.
But Finch, who joined the “Grey’s Anatomy” writing room in 2014, may have gone too far in pitching ideas to his colleagues, including series creator Shonda Rimes, The Ankler said.
Sources confirm The Hollywood Reporter that Disney’s human resources and legal departments are conducting an internal investigation to determine the accuracy of some of Finch’s troubling stories. Multiple sources told The Ankler that there are serious concerns within Shondaland and Disney that parts of Finch’s personal story, which she shared with colleagues and the media, were made up. .
According to reports, Finch’s situation could be reminiscent of famous literary pranks of the past two decades, such as when writer James Frey wrote his 2003 memoir, “A Million Little Pieces.” It was discovered that he fabricated some of his drama stories out of his alcohol and crack addiction.
At just 44 years old, Finch has already experienced more than her share of “discomfort and heartache, which has helped her become an icon on the show,” said The Ankler.
The year before she started writing for “Grey’s Anatomy,” Finch said she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer that involved several brutal rounds of chemotherapy. Because of the chemotherapy, she said she had to abort a fetus and also lost part of her leg and part of her kidney. She also said she was verbally and sexually abused by a male director while writing for “Vampire Diaries.”
In media interviews and essays related to episodes she wrote for “Grey’s Anatomy,” Finch discussed how those experiences inspired some of the plots of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
For example, Finch wrote a Article 2018 for Her, saying she drew on her time battling bone cancer to write episodes depicting the cancer battle of surgeon Catherine Fox (played by Debbie Allen). Finch said she wanted Catherine “to be diagnosed with a spinal tumor similar to mine, but this time the doctors would tell her the truth.”
In 2018, Finch wrote an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, in which she graphically described being the target of sexual harassment while working as a writer and producer for “Vampire Diaries.”
“I laugh every fucking day of this shoot,” Finch wrote. “Laughing through his obscene jokes about actresses’ bodies and his persistent hugs and sweaty hands on the back of his neck, giving me massages I never want but still allow.”
The following year, Finch helped write a praised 2019 episode about female staff at Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital banding together to help an ER patient traumatized by sexual assault. Finch appeared in the episode as a nurse, said the Daily Mail.
The last episode of Grey’s Anatomy was about rape victims. I had a new perspective that I did not know. In every story they told us, I cried harder than ever. My prayers and all my love go out to all who work to prevent rape or any form of abuse. pic.twitter.com/q2sfFpCeUq
— Catherine (@katrlizabeth) March 30, 2019
“Grey’s Anatomy” cast members became concerned about the accuracy of Finch’s personal stories when she suddenly left the show, citing a family emergency, The Hollywood Reporter said. When his colleagues called Finch’s wife, Jennifer Beyer, for an update, they learned that the details of the supposed emergency matched those of a crisis Beyer had experienced — not Finch.
As the investigation continues, a representative for Shondaland told The Hollywood Reporter, “Only Elisabeth can talk about her personal story.”
A lawyer for Finch would only tell The Hollywood Reporter that she wouldn’t discuss his private health issues or his impending divorce from his ex-wife.