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.


I am really disappointed with ABC over this decision. I enjoy watching Grey's Anatomy. Yes, IW made a terrible decision and said horrible things about a cast mate. Yes, others have been fired in the past for saying raciest and sexist remarks. IW did everything that ABC required and I believe that he truly learned his lesson.
IW is one of the few African American leading men on television. He made the character of Dr. Burke interesting, funny, sympathetic and intelligent. Dr. Burke is a leading role on the show. I watch Grey's Anatomy because of the diversity of the characters and the different nuances of the actors. I enjoy IW's portrayal of Dr. Burke and am disappointed to see him and his character leave the show. IW and the other cast members are the added spark that makes the show sizzle.
I believe ABC needs to re-evaluate their position on this matter. I will still watch the show however I disagree with ABC's handling of the IW incident and the Star Jones incident from the VIEW. I believe that without IW on the show it will make the show shallow and soap operaish. ABC is setting the show up for failure without the essential components that made the show a hit in the first place.


And just like his kool-aide drinking fans he puts the blame on everyone but himself. The cast of GA had resolved their issues. If Washington had kept his mouth shut at the Golden Globes then this probably wouldn't be happening. He brought this entire mess on himself and it's really sad he can't see that because if he hasn't seen it by now he probably never will. And will continue to repeat his bad behavoir. And stop it with the racist crap. I never saw him as an angry black man, I don't even see him as an angry man. I don't see him as a MAN at all. He's a child who never learned how to play with others and whines and cries when he doesn't get his way. A real man takes responsibility for his actions.


I am tired of all of this since Washington is really not worth the commotion in any way at all. He was a weak link on the show as an actor and as a character and it is good that they were able to realize this and get rid of him for whatever reason. I am sure that he is headed for oblivion now and he will just have to come to terms with it. I am also tired of the whole American Straight Agenda. It is really the downfall of the country. Other countries in the world are enlightened and not constantly bombarded by the mind turds of the bible belt.

Avatar that we've being hearing one side of the story, it's time to hear the other side. This is the reason why IW hadn't been talking - another condition in order to keep his job. I knew there were pieces missing to this puzzle, and those pieces had TR and KH faces on them, but I also knew PD involvement were more than the show was letting on.


i loved burke!!!!!
wont be the same with out him!


I do believe that IW is beating a dead horse. It's unfortunate what has happened...but carrying on like this isn't going to do him much good at this point.
I know this is Hollywood and image is everything..but isn't it enough that IW knows whether he is against gays or not? Isn't it enough that his closest friends know how he truly is? Or is all this fuss b/c he's worried about his rep in the industry. I wouldn't think he needs to worry if he's doing a movie right now...obviously somebody gave him a chance to prove his merit as an actor.
I don't know about TK's role in all of this..but it does seem that the incident occurred when IW and PD were doing a scene together..and that the argument was between the two of them..and did not involve TK. I mean, really, at this point - is this anything more than crying over spilled milk? I think everybody just needs to move on. Meaning the cast..not else do we have to do? lol


IW is going to be on Larry King tonight (6/22)....


He has a right to say what went on in his own words. I don't think it's a matter of race either. I think it's a matter of who can spin the story to their advantage. The shame of it is, that Burke and Christina were the most believable. I will miss IW and I will miss Burke even more on the show. I'm getting tired of the endless sex romps. I'm not a prude by any means, but sometimes I wonder if it's not a bet to have George sleep with all the female characters on the show. Don't know how much longer I'll stay a viewer if it doesn't start making sense.


It's funny because you guys never ever listened to the problem in the first place. When the news story broke out about Washington, it had everything to do with a "tiff" on Grey's set. It had NOTHING to do with Knight; only Washington and Dempsey. Washington clearly did not call Knight the f word. He called Dempsey that word out of anger; not as a homophobic slur. So now the guy is getting punished for being a gay basher when he isn't one. Geez, he even played a gay man in a past movie role. Hell, GAYS are petitioning to get Washington back on Grey's because THEY know he wasn't gay bashing. A GLAAD member even spoke out about how Washington has done more for gays than Knight has ever done pre and post announcement of coming out of the closet. Knight pulled a b**ch move. He knew he was the weakest character on the show. He pulled a grimy move and used the Washington/Dempsey tiff as a way to get the world on his side. Did any of you grey's fans ever notice Knight had minimal roles on the show up until the Washington/Dempsey tiff? Right after it Knight was suddenly this stud that slept with every hot chick in the hospital, has some big breakdown about his father, and oh no he failed his intern test! People are starting to see right through Knight. And the fact that he even had the nerve to compare his situation to Ellen's HUGE career strides for gays and lesbians is pure BS. Knight should be kicked out on his butt. Knight knew a black guy would be crucified for any little mistake and he'd come out looking like the poor innocent victim. He cashed in on it. I hope ABC is happy. And no, I am not black.


By the way at the Golden Globes IW answered a question of a journalist which was not very clear in the noise. Did we ever read what exactly was the question By the way I didn't need to have TR coming out it was obvious from the first epis. OK I admit I have a lot of gay friends and I even know before they do when someone is gay or not. Must be because I fell in love with one when I was oh so very young.


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)