Isaiah Washington Issues Formal Apology

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Washington: Deeply Sorry
Actor Isaiah Washington has issued an apology in a statement to People for his behavior during the now-infamous on-set argument with a Grey's Anatomy co-star.

"I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set," he said. "Both are beneath my own personal standards. I have nothing but respect for my co-workers, and have apologized personally to everyone involved."

After Washington, 43, and Patrick Dempsey, 40, clashed on October 9, reports began surfacing that Washington had used a homophobic slur during the fracas.

Then on October 19, their co-star, T.R. Knight, disclosed that he is gay.

"I'd like to quiet any unnecessary rumors that may be out there," he said. "I hope the fact that I'm gay isn't the most interesting part of me."

Fallout from the turmoil has sparked talk of everything from hasty script rewrites of an impending onscreen fight scene (not true, says show creator Shonda Rhimes) to rumors that Washington would be fired and replaced by former ER star Eriq La Salle.

"I found (those rumors) not only ridiculous but offensive that we would consider replacing a member of our family. Also, the (idea) that one black man was interchangeable with another is disturbing to me," Rhimes said.

Rhimes also dismissed speculation that the mood on the set has been tense since the argument.

"The mood's what the mood's always been," she said. "We have a group of people who are more of a family than anything else. We have our fun days, and we have our days when people are tired and the work is hard."

On Tuesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Grey's costar Katherine Heigl played down the incident, calling it a "scuffle" that blew over in a matter of a few minutes.

Washington was scheduled to tape an interview with DeGeneres on Tuesday to air Wednesday, but canceled -- citing a scheduling conflict -- after Heigl jokingly warned DeGeneres to "step back" during Washington's appearance.

So what actually happened between Washington and Dempsey? A set source says that when Knight, 33, was late to film a scene, a debate ensued between Dempsey and Washington, with Dempsey insisting on waiting for Knight before starting the scene. The argument intensified, and the source says that the alleged slur was used -- but Knight was not present.

"Isaiah was running his mouth off," the source told People. "Isaiah verbally attacked Patrick. He tore into him. Patrick's voice escalated and he told Isaiah to f*%k off, (but) that was as heated as Patrick got."

As of today, Rhimes tells the magazine, Dempsey and Washington "are fine" -- as are Washington and Knight.

"They've had conversations," says Rhimes. "They did a really great scene together the other day." The whole affair, she says, "was four and a half seconds of one day in three years. I feel like we've already moved on."

We're glad that Washington and Rhimes have come forward to address the issue and assure us that everything has been resolved. Hopefully, the matter can now be put to bed and we can focus on the show!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Why is it that when someone is called a slang word , and they are in fact the definition of that word, they find it offensive? Doesn't that mean that they are offended by who or what they are? This guy wasn't outed because someone called him a faggot! Why is it that someone calling him a faggot has him so upset, is he ashamed of who he is?


I believe that if Isaiah Washington is fired it would be a stupid a move as is all this media attention on 1 word. Sticks and Stones is all I have to say PEOPLE come on!!!!
Let's get it together!
I love this show and watch it faithfully not because of one actor but because of the chemistry all the actors have together.
Get over it and move on. And to the writers of the show , Keep up the good work!!!!


I absolutely love the show and what it brings to TV! I just hop it continues to rise to the occasion and bring the viewers great TV to watch. As far as the done and over with move on...I have.


Burke Backer says: "I think more hate has been leveled at Isaiah since this hit the news stands than Isaiah ever intended towards T.R. or even Patick and primarily by people who claim to be preaching tolerance..." It's by means of example. "Kramer" says the 'n' word and it's all over the media. Same goes for homophobia. Neither can be tolerated. Isaiah Washington is intelligent and OUGHT to know enough to curb his verbiage when he comes from a background that suffered those same slings and arrows. This issue's bigger than Washington, Knight or that television show. I dare say some good has come of it.


This is all so amusing, especially to the person who believes IW is dependenty upon their viewership. HA! he has been eating quite well for years, and I dare say probably better than you have ever eaten. Could that be the problem here.
I've watched the show from episode 1 and will continue until the finale. Unless of course the writer/producers buckle to please the crowd and fire IW.


I don't watch this show and I don't plan on start watching it. But as a gay person myself, I find this hateful words unnecessary. If this has happened the other way around, I'll be curious to see how Burke Backer would paraphrase it. "Back off I am not your little......" just curious.
On the other hand, Patick would be a racist, and I just wonder why the doble standards?


Had somone on the set used a racial slur in regards to Mr. Washington being a "ni - - er" there would have been riots, Jesse Jackson involved, etc. It amazes me the indifference in tolerance. On Mr. Washington's behalf, people do make mistakes and as human beings we have the gift of giving and receiving forgiveness. Words are like nails hammered into a piece of wood, once forgiven the nail is removed but to hold the wood up to the light, you can see the scars of the words. They never go away.


I know I'm coming late to this story though God knows it has been all over the media and GA websites for a while now. I have refrained from commenting on what were in actual fact rumors and continue to be. Isaiah has apologized for whatever he said or did, his co-stars, the producers including Ms Rhimes have addressed the issue and clearly moved on, it is sensible for fans to do the same. On my part I will continue to support Isaiah and wish him the very best 'cos as far as I'm concerned no one else can inhabit the role of Burke like he does.
One more thing - I love this website! You have handled the rumors with good sense and refrained from jumping on the bandwagon of haters - incredibly mature and professional. Well done!


Actually, Isaiah Washington said something very similar to that on the Megan Mullally (is that her name from Will and Grace?) talk show months before the fight between Patrick and Isaiah. He said that he was happy that the relationship between Cristina and Burke was so well accepted and he hoped that it would open people up to accepting all kinds of relationship like those between the same gender. You can down load the broadcast on if you want to hear it. Or would you rather just assume that he is homophobic? Just because we read this differently, Colin, does not mean that anyone is dismissing or rationalizing hate. I think Isaiah was saying to Patrick, "Back off, I am not your girl friend", when he said, "I am not your fa.....t" . He used a word that he regretted, and apologized for it, but he was not saying I hate gays. He was saying don't treat me like I am in your pocket and willing to do anything you say just because you say it. He was not calling T.R. names. He was defending himself. I choose not to condemn him for that, particularly when I don't know what happened that precipitated the disagreement. I think more hate has been leveled at Isaiah since this hit the news stands than Isaiah ever intended towards T.R. or even Patick and primarily by people who claim to be preaching tolerance. As for the insipid television show, why are you reading and writing about Grey's Anatomy if you think no more of it than that?


You know, I know hearing that homophobia exists makes people uncomfortable and they want to ignore it. It's an ugly topic, and it's sad to think that it's present on a TV show we all love so much. But rationalizing it to "protect" a show is sort of an act of averise discrimination. Not paying attention to it, or dismissing it is not better than actually saying it. When do we all say enough is enough about hate? Even if it means changing your attitude about some insipid television show that hardly matters in the long run.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.