Determined Isaiah Washington Says That ABC "Fired the Wrong Guy"

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Isaiah and T.R.
"They fired the wrong guy," Isaiah Washington said today.

The former Dr. Preston Burke on ABC's hit series Grey's Anatomy told the Houston Chronicle that T.R. Knight should have been fired from the show.

Isaiah Washington was not offered a contract and thus let go from the show on June 7, a month before filming for the new season was to begin.

The actor has been slammed with negative publicity since October. That's when he allegedly used an anti-gay slur in reference to T.R. Knight in an on-set argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey.

The Houston native's interviews with the media since have been few.

"I have to clear my name," Isaiah Washington told the Chronicle in a telephone interview from the set of his new movie, The Least of These.

"I'll start from the beginning. I'm telling everything. So here's the truth."

Washington said T.R. Knight, who plays Dr. George O'Malley, stirred up the notion that the slur was targeted at him and created a negative work environment.

The embattled actor also alleged that T.R. Knight likely wanted a salary increase and a more substantive role for his character.

Knight, who acknowledged that he was gay after the incident, told Ellen DeGeneres in January that Washington used the slur against him and that "everyone (on the set) heard it."

"That's a lie," Washington said. "I used the word during a disagreement with Patrick. I apologized for that. We shook hands and went back to work."

Washington also said he is considering a lawsuit. "My livelihood, my honor and dignity and my name have been so challenged."

He said his firing was a big disappointment.

"I was not fired for making homophobic slurs," he said. "I did everything I said I would do. I offered to go to counseling, to do a PSA. I wanted everyone to know I was remorseful."

Washington said he asked to be released from his contract last fall, then again in January when he repeated the slur at the Golden Globes.

His use of the word at the awards ceremony was taken out of context, he says, stating that he was responding to a question from a reporter over whether he had used the slur.

He said he regrets that his actions overshadowed Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes' win for best TV series drama.

Washington first learned ABC would not renew his contract in a tearful, personal call from Shonda Rhimes.

"That was a shock," he said. "I did everything they told me to do, including not saying anything. Then they didn't renew my contract. It's not fair."

ABC executives declined to comment. The 43-year-old Washington said this was the first negative incident in his 20 years in Hollywood.

He said he made three errors in judgment: "Believing that the cast of Grey's Anatomy were like family; believing I had the freedom to express myself with family and that we could resolve our issues; and trusting ABC was going to take care of me. I'm not angry. I'm disappointed."

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


Belgian Grey, No I haven's seen that article in the US press, but I would really like to read it.


I am repeating my question did anyone read the reactions of PD, SO and ED in the US press? Here we have it so I guess you should also have their comments or don't you? Thanks for feedback.


Interestingly enough Ted Casbalanca talks about his "fagiola" friends in his column. Is that better than the word Isaiah used in an argument with another straight man? I find it interesting that people post that Isaiah hurt a lot of people by using the f-word in a private argument on a closed set. He made no public statement. Who is the person who brought this to the media? Who is the person who caused this word to be repeated over and over again over the past eight months. Certainly not Isaiah Washington. Who is actually the one with so little regard for the gay community? I would submit to you that it is not Isaiah Washington.


I'm not sure, Alessia. If it were me that people had been bulding a case against based on lies and manipulation of the truth, I would really want to clear my name and make sure that my side of the story was heard even if some people do not believe me. I'm glad he is speaking out at last. As a fan, I feel vindicated in my belief in him. He has emailed some of us to read this article because what we think of him matters to him. I find him to be a completely good person who has been unfairly tried and convicted in the media based on very little factual information. My heart goes out to him and his family and I really hope that someone neutral comes forward to corroborate his side of the events of October 9th. I do not have a single doubt but what he is telling the truth. I know that his version of what happened at the Golden Globes is true because I have it on tape and I know he was responding to a question by Ted Casablanca from eonline about the supposed homophobic slur. Casablanca then bragged about his question and the shocking response in his column the next day. This is the same online reporter who then made a case that using the word in his denial was tantamont to repeating the slur of Knight. That of course is not true, but he made a good case for the too easily convinced fans already sympathetic towards Knight for something that did not even occur. I am proud of Isaiah for finally telling us what really happened. Because I believe Isaiah, I do think Knight should be fired for creating this stir and hurting his castmate, the show, and fans of Preston Burke for his own personal gain.


Justin and Sam, why is it so hard for you to even entertain the idea that Isaiah is telling the truth and that TR, as I have said all along, has been using this entire incident for self promotion? Go to for more of this story. TR is not coming off as the "poor victim" that he has portrayed himself for the benefit of the media. He comes off as a manipulative, self serving, jerk who happens to be gay. I believe Isaiah without question. It is the only explanation that makes any sense considering Isaiah has had two decades in the entertainment business and not one incident to point to any homophobic behavior prior to this supposed incident. In fact, just the opposite, Isaiah has made very public and supportive statements about the gay community as far back as a decade ago. Patrick Dempsey has supported Isaiah over the past eight months in any way that ABC will allow. Just because he is a gay man, does not make TR ethical, honest, or even a very nice person. I am hopeful that someone will have the courage to corroborate Isaiah's story so that the Isaiah-bashers like the two of you will realize that your hatred has been misplaced. This man has never deserved the horrible things said about him since October and he certainly does not deserve to be fired. He is an extremely talented actor according to many in the industry including his castmates.


Life is full of should haves and shouldn't haves. IW should have not lost his tempers but he did. IW should have apologized and he did. IW should not have said anything on GG but he did. IW should have (according to his ABC bosses)apologized/etc and he did to keep his job AND show his remorse. IW should'nt lose his job but he did. IW should lose his job and he did. IW should not have brought out the hidden stuff but he did. IW should not defend himself but he is. IW should be forgiven, he shouldn't. IW should be given another chance, he shouldn't. Change to IW to I or You, I wonder what the should have's and shouldn't haves will be.


An on-set situation exploded into the media. Mistakes were made by both parties. It's unfortunate Isaiah Washington got fired. If he wants to try to clear his name, he has a right to (even if it may not help him). All I know is I will miss his character on the show.


However, I do agree "stop it with the homophobic crap."


The child in this situation is TR. I don't believe for one minute that this would have ended with the GG incident, if that was true then the GG incident wouldn't have happened. People had allready made up their minds when the story was first leaked. TR wasn't going to let it go. He was scheduled to be on the Ellen show before the GG. IW is not trying to blame anyone, he's just telling his side, something he wasn't able to do, and he needs to that if only for his well being, and as a fan I would like to hear him, because I've always stood behind him and knew he wasn't the villian in thiis. He's not doing this to change the minds of the haters are the gays that hate him, he's doing it for his peace of mine And I still feel there was more that Shonda Rhimes could have done to help this situation, but she was just looking out for...other things. When IW made the comment at the GG, she smiiled because she knew his statement wasn't meant to be hurtful toward TR.


DixieGirl IW will be with Larry King on the 29th only.


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.