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Grey’s Anatomy: cancer, attack… the terrible lies of a member of the series

Published on May 11, 2022 at 9:25 a.m.

Grey’s Anatomy: cancer, attack… the terrible lies of a member of the series – © ABC

Behind the scenes, the cult medical series has been rocked by a scandal for several months: one of its screenwriters allegedly claimed to have cancer for years and wrote several episodes based on her alleged experience. And his lies don’t stop there. An emotional scam that shakes up the world of Shonda Rhimes productions.

This is one of the plots at the heart of season 15. Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen), wife of Doctor Weber (James Pickens Jr.) and mother of Doctor Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), learns that she has a chondrosarcoma, bone cancer. For several episodes, she is cared for by her friend, neurosurgeon Tom Koracick (Greg Germann). These episodes were written by Elisabeth Finch, screenwriter of 13 episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and producer of 172 of them, who has always claimed to have used her personal experience to feed this story. Only here, the screenwriter would never have really been sick. And his lies apparently don’t stop there. This is revealed by a long investigation, in two parts of the American magazine “Vanity Fair”.

Fake disease, real quest for attention

It all started in 2014 when Elisabeth Finch was still the screenwriter of “Vampire Diaries”. She then shares a testimony on the Internet, in which she recounts in detail her fight against cancer. Over the years, she will write several testimonials to talk about her illness and other traumatic experiences she would have gone through. She reveals, for example, having had to abort in the middle of chemotherapy to stay alive. His story is very relayed in the United States and the production company of Shonda Rimes, at the origin of the series, decides to hire him from season 10.

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Five seasons later, in 2018, while the screenwriter claims to be still fighting her cancer, she won the grail by writing several episodes of season 15. Elisabeth Finch is increasingly inspired by elements relating to her illness to write his intrigues. In the writers’ room, she is a special figure, reports “Vanity Fair”. Thanks to the disease that she claims to have, she obtains many privileges: more time than her colleagues, equipment adapted to work, long weekends and weeks of rest following an alleged kidney transplant. On a daily basis, the teams of the series are impressed by the courage that Elisabeth Finch shows in the face of her cancer.

In the American press, Elisabeth Finch also receives significant support. She gives several interviews, such as in “Entertainement News”, in 2019, where she declares: “A lot of times when I write stories, I try to separate things. I don’t always consciously know that I’m putting so much of my personal story into the script. Then, going on set, I realize that I just put my life in the script. »

When fiction meets reality

Only here, in 2018, Elisabeth Finch did not have cancer and it seems that she never had it. But his lies don’t stop there. She claims that a friend of hers was among the victims of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and that she herself helped clean up the body the day after the bombing. She also tells, in an email to the teams of “Grey’s Anatomy” to explain a prolonged absence, that her brother has just killed himself, while he is still alive and well. It will be necessary to wait until 2022 for his fabrications to be finally revealed in broad daylight by his ex-wife, in an email to Shonda Rhimes.

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Ironically, the screenwriter’s emotional and professional scam was revealed when a new production by Shonda Rhimes had just been released: “Inventing Anna”, the story of Anna Delvey, a con artist who, like Elisabeth Finch, had invented a life for himself.

Already in March, “Hollywood Reporter” explained that an investigation had been opened against Elisabeth Finch by the human resources and legal department of Disney. The 44-year-old screenwriter has been placed on administrative leave. “Only Elisabeth can talk about her personal story,” Shondaland announced in a statement.

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