T.R. Knight Confirms Slur Was Made, Resulted in His Coming Out

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T.R. Knight Confirms Slur Was Made, Resulted in His Coming Out
T.R. Knight says that hearing Isaiah Washington call him a "faggot" on the set of Grey's Anatomy gave him the courage to come out of the closet - and that he's speechless that Washington on Monday denied using the word.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, which aired on her talk show today, Knight says something changed inside him when he overheard an argument in October between Washington and Grey's Anatomy co-star Patrick Dempsey during which Washington used the slur.

"It's an awesome word, isn't it?" the actor told DeGeneres sarcastically. "I've never been called that to my face. So I think when that happened, something shifted, and it became bigger than myself."

Shortly after the on-set dustup, Knight confirmed he is gay - the kind of public announcement he says isn't his style, but he felt was necessary.

"I was under no delusions," he said. "My friends on the set knew. We talked about it. Publicly, it's not my thing to call up People magazine and be like, 'Hey, you want to know something about me?' I could've just let it slide and not said anything, but it became important. It became important to make the statement."

In the Golden Globe Awards press room on Monday night, after Grey's Anatomy won Best TV Drama, Washington dubiously fielded a question from a reporter about the incident and denied using the slur, which rekindled interest in what could have remained a dead issue.

"No, I did not call T.R. a faggot," he said. "Never happened, never happened."

But Knight told another story to Ellen DeGeneres.

The talk show host said, "And then the other night at the Golden Globes, I guess Isaiah Washington is starting up the whole thing up again which is kind of crazy..."

"Yeah, he denied that he said it (faggot)," Knight said, "and I don't know what to say about it. But it's pretty bad."

Washington's denial also infuriated Grey's Anatomy cast member Katherine Heigl, who reproached her co-star during an interview Monday.

"I'm going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period," she said. "I'm sorry, that did not need to be said, I'm not okay with it."

In today's interview, T.R. Knight also thanked DeGeneres for her courage in coming out as a lesbian 10 years ago.

"It just made all the difference in the world," he said.

T.R. Knight and Ellen DeGeneres

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


I believe that people make to much of comments like this. I believe people who have specific agenda's look for such comments and blow them up. I am so tired of having to walk on egg shellls to stay "politically correct." I believe if TR had a problem with it he should have confronted Isaiah about it. I am a minority, because I'm a hispanic woman - but I don't cry out UNFAIR everytime someone calls me by names I don't appreciate. I say GROW up and deal with it like a man TR. I believe that this is not about the word, "FAGGOT" it's about some one's political agenda.


I do not understand why "faggot" or "fag" is such a bad word. If you are a homosexual man, then expect to be associated with those words, as well as queer, gay, sissy and other words I know are offensive (so I'm not listing them). It's just a word.


i am from germany, so i didnt know the word "f****t" can someone explain the word for me, please??


Do you not screen these comments? Why would you let people who are hatemongers the right to voice their comments here? Anyone using the F* word is spreading the same low brow attitude that we need to evolve above. It is just admittedly an embarrassment for them to leave those comments but it is also an offense for those with any measurable I.Q. to have to read. Please screen better in the future. Thank you.


Seems like we have been over this before, O'Mally Girl, and I don't mean to keep repeating myself, but Isaiah did not deny using the term, he denied calling TR the term. TR believes he overheard Isaiah referring to him by the term. Katherine Heigl told Ellen in her original interview right after it happened that she wasn't on the set but heard about it. I heard her after the Golden Globes and you know what, she should not have spoken either. Her words were supportive of Knight but hurtful to Washington and they are both her castmates. It was inappropriate for her to publicly take sides. She can be TRs best buddy, but that wasn't the time for her to say anything at all. I have far more respect for Sandra, Patrick, Chandra, Justin, James, Eric, Katie Walsh, and Sara who managed to get through the whole debacle without adding fuel to the fire. So I am sorry that we disagree and do respect your right to see it differently, but we disagree. From the stand point of the show and the fans of the show there was nothing gained by either Katie Heigl's comments or TRs appearance on Ellen. Let me ask you, if you overheard someone referriing to you as a derogatory name, would you run to the press or would you confront the person doing the name calling and find out why they did it, what they meant by it, what their problem was? Particularly if it was the very first time the person had ever said something like that and if I considered the person to be like family, I would confront them with what I thought I overheard. But I would not be so vindictive as to want people to hate that person and call for his job. That doesn't seem to me to be in the best interest of the show or the fans who love all of the characters and don't want to lose any of them over something that really only impacted me.


sorry BurkeBacker but i TOTALLY disagree. I mean, TR even said that everyone on set heard what he said. Don't you find it odd that Isaiah Washington is the only one who DENIED that it happened? Katherine Heigl did, and she was FURIOUS. In quote from Golden Globes, "you now what, im gonna be very honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. period. im sorry, it just did not need to be said. and i am not ok with it. i have no idea what it was, i just, i find it hurtfull. i dont know, i dont know, i feel like this should be something that should be very much in house and i, feel like it should be somthing to deal with. among us and among all of the casting crew, and shondra ofcoarse and our producers and hopfully we can work it out. i dont, you know, i dont... it's just somthing i am flumboxed by, i dont get it. TR's my best friend, so i will throw down for that kid. i will beat you up! i will use any ounce of energy to take you down, if you hurt his feelings."
reporter: was TR hurt this evening?
"umm...i dont see how you cannot be under the sercomstances. drawing attention to it and saying it again was unneccesary." i think that proves my point! hehe


I, for one, do not care one way or the other, whether TR is gay is not a concern of mine. I just want to say that he does a fabulous job on the show and that's all that matters, that he goes to work and performs. The rest is none of my business.
As for his cast member using, what I consider, a cruel word, is sad but it happens. My husband has a word that he would use to IW's face, and it is not nice or acceptable either.


Hi Bonnie. You are so wise and so right and you just keep trying to get us back to the subject of the show we love and the people who inhabit Seattle Grace. I agree with you so much in my head. Intellectually I know you are right. Then I read this awful hateful nonsense and my heart makes me respond. Faggot. It's a word. We have decided it is beyond horrible. TR has decided that it defines who he is and so if he overhears it he has to announce to the world that he is gay. Therefore by default the person saying the word must be a horrible, hateful human being. My heart goes out to Isaiah that he is being so villified and misunderstood. Some of the comments are just so over the top that I find myself compelled to respond. Even if I did not love Isaiah and love the character of Burke I would feel the need to defend this man who has had to carry all of this hate on his back for a slip of the tongue back in October and trying to correct the situation in January. I'm sorry. I know I am disappointing you because you just want the whole thing to blow over. I do, too. But I can't sit here and read this junk without at least asking them to think about it from the other perspective.


I think it is very sad that IW has said what hes said. In a world that has started to accept alternative life styles this does not help. I have a uncle that is gay and a aunt too. they are the most lovely people that i know. IW needs to get some help and deal with these feelings. as far as greys go i think he should go also....the cast of greys are extreamly talented and to have one that has said and done what IW has is unacceptable... TR my hat is off to you and good luck in allthat you do.. I am behind you 100%...


Not only is he a FAGGOT he's crying like a BITCH about it.
We are all called names in our life I have a 1000.00 that Isiah was called a NIGGER a few times in his life. Grew up you and stop being a Bitch


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

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.


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)