The latest in a seemingly endless rash of famous people busted for the stupid things they say has Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington trying to repair his threatened career by apologizing to the gay community and meeting with members of GLAAD.
All the trouble started when it was reported that Washington used a derogatory word in reference to one of the show’s other stars, T.R. Knight, during an argument. The offensive slur then prompted Knight to come out publicly in People magazine, no less.
With Knight happily out of the closet, the subject had mostly died down. No doubt Washington was being ripped apart online or perhaps sent one hate letter after the next, but whatever it was, it bothered the actor enough to bring it back up again in the post-Golden Globes press room.
“I did not call T.R. Knight a faggot,” the hothead actor said. Caught on tape! The clip was played repeatedly until the only thing left of the actor was a thimble-full of hotness he can’t help but still have.
Washington was sincere in his apology, “I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help,” the 43-year-old actor, who plays Dr. Preston Burke on the hit series, said.
The truth: he had no choice but to fall on his sword, flop down on the ground and show his belly in the supine position. Or as Kevin Kline said in A Fish Called Wanda, “I am so very very very very very very sorry!” He knew he was in danger of slipping into Michael Richards-land or worse, Mel Gibson-land. Not a fun place to be when you’re starring on the number one show in the country, the same show that just won a Golden Globe for Best Drama Series.
Once the apology came out, the story quieted down. It was now clear Washington was under the care of a better publicist who was telling him the A, B, C and D of digging oneself out of a deep, deep hole. Washington has been working for years but is finally enjoying his first real break with Grey’s.
The sad part of this whole thing is that Washington thought he was digging himself out when he denied ever using the word in the first place. He did it on television, with all cameras trained on him. Clearly he’s not used to the auto-filter that goes along with being famous for a while.
Does this mean Washington is a homophobe? Probably not. Does it mean he is clueless when it comes to using hurtful words and should know better? Absolutely. If it’s not okay to use the “n” word since the OJ Simpson trial, it may never be okay to use this particular “f” word anymore, especially if it’s used in anger during a heated argument. Too many abusive acts have followed that very slur for it ever to be okay.
Many have now called for a boycott on ABC unless they fire Washington. Either way, Washington has learned a valuable lesson about what you can and can’t say. T.R. Knight is living a more honest life and Grey’s Anatomy continues to dominate the ratings. What is that saying, there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Mel Gibson and Michael Richards have proven exactly the opposite is true. Whether Washington has followed in their footsteps or not remains to be seen.
Grey’s Anatomy airs on Thursday nights, 9:00 p.m.