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.


maybe he should be fined or something....don't they fine athletes for doing bad stuff.....
and to say that people would boycott is wrong too......IW is one character....why make the other characters suffer for what he did....i think if he is fired it would not be shondras decision so why make her suffer.


I am disappointed in IW. He shouldn't have said it and he shouldn't have raised the issue again at the GG. However, I don't think he should be fired. Look Mel Gibson made racist remarks about Jews and he's gone on to make another movie and will continue to do so. People are racists, sexists, and homophobes. It's sad. And it is horrible that IW did this. He's very arrogant. But, that doesn't mean he should be fired necessarily. However, if he continues to make remarks and becomes a divisive force in the cast, then of course he should be fired. The question is have relationships on the set been so destroyed by this latest remark that there is no continuing on or not. Shonda, in any event, should make a strong public statement against IW's actions and a statement supporting TR and supporting diversity.


This show, writers, directors, actors are all hypocrits in regards to professing anger against using slurs to describe a set of people, beliefs, etc. In the 5/7/06 episode, "Synopsis", "Dr Bailey", played by Chandra Wilson, a black woman, refers to an family coming into the ER as the "hick show", hillbillies, etc simply because they are from the south. This was spewed by Wilson, as Dr Bailey, with venom and disgust at the thought of having to treat a southern family. The southern family was portrayed, AS USUAL, as loud, ignorant, red necks, with poor manners and grammar. The actors portraying this family, AS USUAL, over-emoted with the over-done thick accents, mannerisms, etc., all at the behest of the writers, director, etc. While everyone on the set is crying about Isaiah Washington using a slur, I don't hear any outcry for the degredation, on a daily basis, for the disgusting language used to describe people from Appalachia, southern states, etc. They are the last group of people that can still be belittled in public and on the airwaves, with no repercussions for the perpetrators. I guess we haven't met the PC threshhold yet. Even in the description of the episode on the official Greys Anatomy, the family was described as a loud, Southern family, as if capitalizing the word "southern", would emphasize the disgust felt toward this group of people. The line was delivered in the episode by a "black woman", or should I use the "N" word? NO? There is no excuse for this phony outrage from the show or the actors as long as the writers, directors, AND actors have no qualms in humiliating, slandering, or belittling another set of people in their race for ratings. Horray for Hollywierd!


Give me a break....
Move on, they said they squashed it...Rosie made fun of chinese people then apologized. Let's move on. The media needs to let it go ....Let's just rty it again;;;;;;


nobody uses the word faggot anymore, especailly in a hated argument. Maybe the word fag. But that is a different sound. My guess is he was listening in on to guys fighting and heard a combination of words that he made up in his own mind as being the word faggot. It is far more likely it was a different combination of words....and since the other Actor is denying it....I think this much to do about a simple misunderstanding. Has TR confronted Asiah directly?


I believe Isaiah. So what if TR thought he heard something....his co worker says he did not. And TR is being very very snippy by going around acting like a wounded victim. A man would have just sucked it up and accepted the apology. Now you have TR and his best friend trying to get the strong black dude written off the series. TR claiming he had to come out because of this does not pass the sniff test. BTW FWIW his character on the series is gay, but has not come out, the writers are waiting. But you can tell by the way he rejects girls, and is wounded when he gets laid just to get laid. That is totally gay


I don't think he said that word to TR's face....i think it was overheard...but it still hurts.....i don't want IW to get fired I just think he shouldn't have said what he said at the GG/


Personally, I don't think IW called him a fa****! I think there was an off color comment made from IW to PD and TR Knight overheard it. Maybe he wanted the publicity, maybe he was tired of being in the closet publicly and used it to push any negative views off of him and onto someone else in his coming out or maybe he was just offended. Who knows. I would be interested in knowing if IW had a few drinks at the GG. Maybe it relaxed him a little and when that reporter brought up the incident he got a little angry and was trying to clear it up. It made things worse, but that would help me to understand why he wouldn't just be quiet.
I have a hard time thinking that IW walked up to TR and called him that to his face with no remorse. As diverse as the show is, and as fair as Shonda is, I wouldn't think she'd have a problem giving anyone the axe, main character or not. I think there is just a lot more to the situation.
I have no doubt with all of the accounts that the word was said. But at no point in anyone's account does IW call TR a fa**** to his face.


If people would quit talking about it and asking questions about it then it would be over and done with. Some people just don't know how to move on.


so much for them saying they were all over it in the oprah interview, eh? LOL it was far from over obviously, since TRK is speaking about it still and KH as well. the only one who is maintaining any decency is PD -- he has taken the high road from the very beginning.


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.