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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Does ABC owe Isaiah Washington an apology?

Last night, Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington talked to Larry King about his firing from the show for using a homophobic slur. The star said he wanted to clear his name and set the record straight about what really happened on the set.

Washington told King that he did not call costar T.R. Knight the “f word.” Washington said he used the word in reference to himself, as an implication of weakness, during an argument with Patrick Dempsey. Washington was upset with Dempsey’s repeated tardiness and said a lot of inappropriate words during the argument, as both men’s tempers flared, Washington said. His comment to Dempsey was that, “You’re not going to treat me like a f-----,” Washington told King.

“I used the word, but it was never to refer to T.R. Knight,” Washington said. Yet, Washington apologized once again on Larry King Live for using the word and said he regretted the incident and that he and Dempsey had apologized to one another and had moved in a positive direction.

Washington said he was treated unfairly in the press because it was erroneously reported that he used the word against Knight, and that story was never corrected by ABC or Knight. ABC/Touchstone had not allowed Washington to talk about the incident previously, he said.

Washington was fired after a press conference for the Golden Globes, where Washington denied that he had used the “f word” against Knight. After the Globes, Washington went to counseling and did a public service announcement against homophobia.

“I’m relieved I can finally tell my side of he story,” Washington said. “I am not homophobic in no way shape or form… Patrick and I were moving in a good direction. We apologized and cleared up our frustration. He apologized to me for being late. We were men and solved this issue.”

When King pressed Washington on why the “f word” would even be in his vocabulary, Washington explained that he grew up in a gay community in New York and that the “f word was thrown around” a lot while living there, by his gay friends. He said he has the support of many in the gay community. He had even written an article a long time ago condemning homophobia in Essence magazine.

When asked if his cast mates had contacted him, Washington got teary eyed when discussing a supportive e-mail from costar Sandra Oh. He also mentioned Chandra Wilson and James Pickens’ support.

According to Washington, Knight used the incident to lobby for a better storyline and a pay hike. King asked if anyone else should have been fired, and Washington said, “I think T.R. should have been addressed, yes, because of the behavior that he promoted.”

Neither Knight or Dempsey responded to comment requests from King. Washington said he didn’t expect them too, as they are under a gag order, and Disney still writes their paychecks. “You don’t mess with the mouse,” he joked.

If this story is true, then the world and ABC owe Washington an apology. He’s now been labeled as homophobic and a difficult actor.

I wish Dempsey would issue a statement, or perhaps some other cast mates. If I had gotten myself in hot water, I’d like to think my coworkers would stand up for me, despite a gag order.

Washington came across well on King. ABC and Knight, not so much.

I wish Washington the best of luck. And I hope that someday, the show creator either speaks up in his defense or gives her version of the events.


big tuna said...

To answer your question, I say yes. His version of events seem plausible, especially considering he denied it at the Globes, too. It makes sense now. If the other actors would have explained, too, this whole thing could have been put to bed. It seems by gagging the, it just made things worse.

Ryan said...

The guy said a horrible word in the heat of a fight. He didn't disparage or show his ignorance to anyone but himself and perhaps Dempsey. People need to leg it go already. The guy has been railroaded by the media and the network, if you ask me. I just don't think ABC thought explaining what really went down would help the show, perhaps it would make McDreamy look bad, so they just let Washington fall on the sword.

Kara said...

His interview was pretty damned convincing. But, one thing bothered me, if he hadn't done anything wrong toward his coworker, then why offer to resign twice?

tube talk girl said...

I didn't understand that either, Kara.

mcsteamy2000 said...

I want Dempsey to talk, the Mouse be damned!

Anonymous said...

Not only does ABC owe Mr. Washington an apology, they also owe him money: the amount they would have paid had they renewed his contract, plus a huge chunk of change for this public and completely unnecessary humiliation. Shame on ABC! You don't use a rifle to kill a fly! Mr. Washington never called Mr. Knight an F-word, nor was the word even directed at him, so Mr. Knight needs to get off his super-sensitive high horse and give Mr. Washington and the rest of the world a break.

Anonymous said...

Let's all just stop watching this lame show and it's off-screen soap opera altogether. We're talking about B-list actors who can't control their fists or their mouths. Who needs this daily barrage of Isaiah crap? My family stopped watching the sleep-around-fest after Year One; good riddance to bad trash. ABC apologize? Puh-leeze.

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