Home / Shocking Press Room Gay Slur Shadows Grey’s Anatomy Victory

Shocking Press Room Gay Slur Shadows Grey’s Anatomy Victory

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So Grey's Anatomy won for Best Drama Series Monday night, but leave it to a man with a huge ego to draw the attention to himself.

When asked by a reporter about the highly publicized brawl that went down between co-stars Isaiah Washington (Preston Burke) and Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd aka McDreamy), Washington decided to storm the mic and proclaim "No, I did not call T.R. (Knight, who plays George O'Malley) a faggot. It never happened."

The Hollywood Reporter says the crowd then gasped, and "the rest of the press briefing was spent watching Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) trying to keep Knight from bolting the platform as he was clearly miffed by the comment."

The video of the awkward exchange can be seen at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association website. You can see Eric Dane's (Mark Sloan aka McSteamy) body language shift to uneasy and Patrick Dempsey's head go down as soon as the comment is made.

Co-star Katherine Heigl is not having his bullshit anymore. Later in the night Katherine was clearly pissed off the comment was made and angrily vented to Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson. "There is no way I could do anything so vile." Heigl said revisiting the incident in such an insensitive manner hurt Knight. "I'm going to be really honest right now. [Isaiah] needs to just not speak in public. Period. That did not need to be said again, I’m not OK with it. Drawing attention to it and saying the word again is just unnecessary."

You can see how emotionally distraught she is over the whole thing in the video, which is followed by Isaiah talking to Nancy O'Dell and Billy Bush, still claiming he never said the word and trying to redeem himself.

And to think I actually defended him when this whole thing went down because I heard him saying pro-gay marriage things on the Megan Mullaly Show before the whole incident. Now I've just lost all respect. T.R. had to have been so incredibly embarassed. Absolutely horrified. Heads will roll for this one. We can't let him get away with it again.

The worst part about it?  Katherine and T.R. have exposed Washington as a bold faced liar. Katherine said in her interview, "It did not need to be said again," implying it actually was said a first time.  Then in an interview that aired this morning on Ellen Degeneres, T.R. himself confirmed that Washington did refer to him as a "faggot", that everyone had heard it, and that he didn't know why Washington lied and said he didn't say it.

Here's that interview: 

I don't think Washington is a bigot or a homophobe. I do believe his an arrogant, pompous, insensitive pig. When someone can have such disregard for the emotions of their fellow cast members, and publicly humiliate them and disrespect them the way he did at the Globes, they do not deserve to be on the top series on television.

TV Guide's Michael Ausiello, who actually was there in the press room had this to say: 

"[Isaiah Washington's] continued employment on a show that wears its diversity as a badge of honor is the height of hypocrisy. If ABC wants to be remotely true to the principles Shonda Rhimes so eloquently espouses through the show, it has to do the right thing and fire Washington. Anything else at this point is simply unacceptable.

I certainly was there, and I have the internal scars to prove it. It was by far the ugliest, most uncomfortable press-room moment I have ever experienced. And judging by the shell-shocked faces on the cast — particularly T.R. Knight and Patrick Dempsey, who have been class acts throughout this entire ordeal — it was a new low for them, too. And what's ironic about the whole thing is that in Washington's attempt to clear his name, he came off as an out-of-control homophobe who throws the f-word around like it's candy" 

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has issued a statement demanding an immediate apology from Washington, and thousands of people have already signed an online petition to get Washington fired from the show. 

It'll be interesting to see how Shonda Rhimes and ABC handle this fiasco. I don't understand why she or ABC hasn't publicly slapped him on the wrist for his comments. It's extremely disrespectful to T.R. and the gay community to allow this to be going on without any consequences.

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About Chris Evans

  • Cristy

    I am so disgusted. They better kill Dr. Burk or I am done watching my favorite show. Rock on TR!!

  • It seems that Isaiah Washington is getting too big for his boots. ABC and Shonda need to do something more about this issue, rather than just sweep it under the carpet. I am certainly not a fan of Isaiah or Dr. Burke anymore. If something is not done, the show may begin to fall due to Isaiah’s rude and arrogant comment.

  • adi

    I don’t think firing him its the solution to it, at all, it actully sends a wrong message: we can’t fix the problem, we can only eliminate it.
    Whatever “reason” he might think he had to say those words (-bigot-homophobe-..or plain hater..whatever)its not valid, that we all agree on, but we are suppose to encourange acceptance, to make things better..to make things work, he needs to realize what he’s doing and how his actions and words have a result, a bad one on this case.
    And the reason why he hasnt been fired so far, its executives afraid of being called or percieved as racists…thats all ladies and gentlemen.
    Next thing: the black community will claim “hell if it would have been dr. mcdreamy saying those words he’d still be working” and truth to be told, i thinks thats true…
    the fuss wouldnt be as big as it is now..
    i dont care if anyone gets to be called a racist..if they infact fire him, cuz if he doesnt clean his act and pulls together..i think he honestly deserves to be fired.

    No Dr. Burke…so what? we’ll get Sandra Oh someone better..that’s all.

  • David

    I think it is very sad that in this day and age, that someone of the acting community and a black man on top of that would be so ignorant as to use that or any other homophic slur out loud in or out of public demeaning anyone. And what good would firing him do, then you just create the whole “I’m a misunderstood black man” syndrome. The answer is just to turn the channel and not support a show that allows this type of behavior from anyone in the cast.

  • Dan

    Sounds as if Washington is maintaining that he did not use the slur in reference to Mr. Knight. He’s denying it ever happened.

    Would people prefer he had used ‘F word’ instead of ‘faggot’? I don’t understand.

  • Well seeing as how both T.R. and Katherine Heigl have confirmed he DID say it, and they no reason to lie, we can all but assume Washington was lying when he said it never happened.

    Secondly, he could’ve said a MULTITUDE of things, he could of stood back and said NOTHING, and let the creator of the show handle the press. His arrogant self decided not to.

    “The hurtful words that were alleged I said never came out of my mouth and never would.”
    “The things they said I said, it’s completely false.”
    “I would never use that kind of language towards my fellow castmembers”

    Those are just THREE possibilities, and there are a million other things he could’ve said other than what he did.

  • Dan

    Why should we assume that two accusers have no reason to lie?

    It does clear it up for me though. You’re objecting to Washington’s insensitivity to use the ‘f word’ even if it is to deny he ever said it.

    You certainly have the right to take offense. But it seems a little overly sensitive to object to Washington using the word in that manner.

    I admit I don’t know the odds on whether Washington commited the offense, but it seems likely that an innocent man, falsely accused, may be piqued to the point of not being diplomatically tactful in his denial.

  • What reason WOULD they have to lie though? Honestly.

    And it’s not like T.R. came forward on his own accord and waved a big flag and started a big fuss saying “OMG HE CALLED ME A FAGGOT. GET HIM.”

    The only reason T.R. has even ADDRESSED the issue now, is because Washington was foolish enough to use the words he did at the press conference. If he hadn’t, the entire issue would be history.

    And for the f-word to slide so easily off his tongue at a breezy press conference after his show has just won an award (on MLK day), it honestly isn’t too difficult for me to imagine that he said it in a fit of anger behind closed doors.

  • Dan

    You’re probably right Chris, but someone, perhaps not TR, clearly must have waved an “OMG” flag. Otherwise theyr’d be nothing for Washington to deny.

  • It looks like both ABC and Isaiah himself have folded.

    Here’s their statement:

    “We have a long-standing policy to create and maintain respectful workplaces for all our employees. We dealt with the original situation in October, and thought the issue resolved. Therefore, we are greatly dismayed that Mr. Washington chose to use such inappropriate language at the Golden Globes, that he himself deemed ‘unfortunate’ in his previous public apology. We take this situation very seriously, and his actions are unacceptable and are being addressed.”

    Here’s his statement:

    “I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance,” Washington said in a statement issued Thursday. “By repeating the word Monday night, I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.

    “I know the power of words, especially those that demean. I realize that by using one filled with disrespect I have hurt more than T.R. and my colleagues. With one word, I’ve hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted. I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologize in person and to talk about what I can do to heal the wounds I’ve opened.

    “T.R.’s courage throughout this entire episode speaks to his tremendous character. I hold his talent, and T.R. as a person, in high esteem. I know a mere apology will not end this, and I intend to let my future actions prove my sincerity.”

  • And we hope this statement from ABC and from Washington will cause Dan to stop pointlessly objecting to the completely understandable offense people have taken, thus exhibiting borderline bigoted attitudes himself: “Why are you PC people so sensitive?” is the implied message. “Why are you so insensitive?” is the best reply.

  • Paula

    it doesn’t matter how many times Isaiah Washington appoligises, it won’tchange the fact that he said what he said. You can’t go back in time and change the past. The pain he caused is still there and he can’t change that. He should hang his head in shame and BEG T.R. for his forgivness on public television, that’s where he humiliated him and that’s where he needs to attempt to make amends.Shame on you isaiah, SHAME on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • yuoip

    I’m going to upset the masses here….
    So you are all telling me that you all have NEVER said anything to anyone that wasn’t insensitive or hurtful…You never called someone a name. OMG you are all saints. I am sick to death of you all being sooooo righteous. The guy had a heated moment at work- haven’t we all??? Haven’t we all said stupid things we regret in the heat of the moment??? The guy stuffed up and yes now because the whole community is on his tail he is ashamed to admit it.
    I am short and I get called short ass etc etc people think it’s cute. But y’know what I’m not about to set a legal team onto the next person who comments on my height. I can’t help being short I was just born that way and some of the things that have been said to me have been hurtful. But I move past it and I have come to realise that when people ridicule, it is because they need to make themselves feel better due to a lack of their own self worth/ confidence.
    Perhaps if everyone could rise above it and not whinge and moan over name calling we could all concentrate on the bigger picture.

  • In this day and age for a white actor to REPEATEDLY use the word “nigger”, it’d seem to me the appropriate action would be to make his TV character admit his mother was black as part of the story line… or better yet have his character begin dating a black woman.

    Obviously the appropriate action against Isaiah Washington continuously using the word “faggot” in public would be for his character to admit he’s a homosexual on camera, or better yet have the fictional doctor arrested for raping a fictional little boy to the shock of the rest of the fictional staff of the fictional hospital.

    We’ll see how long he keeps spewing the word “Faggot” on camera and in interviews.

    That’d fix the stupid nigger.

    Before I hear a lot of shit, my grandfather on my father’s side really was black.


  • I think your remark was ridiculously distasteful and uncalled for Jet, and your qualifier that your grandfather’s mother’s sister’s friend’s cousin was black sounds exactly like something I’d hear coming out of the mouth of a closet racist.

    Being a gay person, you know the power derogatory slurs have, and you know they can be very hurtful words. Which is why I’m disappointed you would resort to throwing one around like it’s candy.

  • Luke

    So the guy called another actor on his set a fag. So what? And now he has to beg in front of the gay mafia and ask for forgiveness? Listen, have you ever heard gay people refer to themselves as queer, tops/bottoms, bears, butches, queens, etc.? If anything they bring it on themselves. This country could have never got to where it is now if back then we had this atmosphere of hand-wringing and political correct nonsense about every little perceived slight. Like the Eagles said in one of their songs…..Get Over It!!

  • melani

    no we cant change the past but we can change the future!
    yes it was wrong of isaiah washington to say what he did and yes it was wrong of him to deny it but we all have our bad moments and he just had his at the wrong time in the wrong place. yes we can critisize against isaiah for saying what he did or we can critisize against TR for being gay it will make no difference because in the end of the day isaiah said what he did an TR is still gay nothing will change that but yet we critisize and critisize whether were going with the situation or against it. I personally dont want to pick sides but I have heard more disgusting things than just the word faggot more horrible and grusome things so personally I think the public is making way to much of a big deal out of this situation and just because isaiah said what he did and the fact that TR is gay is not going to make me stop watching my favourite tv program because in the end we are all just people and we make mistakes and we hurt people even if we dont want to but we still do its part of life.If TR was proud of being gay he woudn’t be so offended and if hes a good friend he should forgive isaiah and if isaiah was a good friend hell think of the best apology he can.(read this)

    As we grow up,we learn that even the one person that wasnt supposed to ever let you down probably will.You will have your heart broken probably more than once and its harder everytime.You’ll break hearts to, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.You’ll blame a new love for something an old one did. You’ll cry because time is passing to fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love. So take to many pictures,laugh to much, and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute you’ll never get back.
    Don’t be afraid that your life will end,
    be afraid that it will never begin!!!!

  • c

    I dont want Burk to be fired…he is like the best part of the show!!! KEEP HIM! Im not saying that what he did was right because it really was horrible but please dont make the show suffer. I think he needs to apologize and some how make it up to Knight.