T.R. Knight Confirms Details of Washington’s Homophobic Slur


Towleroad has received a partial transcript of T.R. Knight’s appearance on today’s Ellen DeGeneres Show. Knight reportedly confirms details of the October on-set incident between Grey’s Anatomy co-stars Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington. Knight claims that Washington (who denies the feud ever took place, much less the slur) did, indeed, use the F-word:

Trknight“He referred to me as a faggot…Everyone heard it.”

Knight said it became important for him to make a statement after details of the feud blew up in the press, and that he looked to Ellen’s and other celebrities’ coming out experiences for strength.

“I was under no delusions.. my friends on the set knew. We talked about it.. they knew. I was not under any delusion that they didn’t know but I think publicly it’s not my thing to like call up People Magazine and be like, hey you want to know something about me? You know, I think when it happened (the incident) I’ve never been called it, and you know you go through things in life and you lose friends when you go through the process — whatever your journey is — but I’ve never been called that to my face. So, I think when that happened something shifted and it became bigger, you know what I mean, than myself. I look to people like you (Ellen) …to your bravery, and others people’s bravery, and you’re just really grateful for that because I could’ve just let it slide and not said anything but it became important.”

When Ellen asked him about Washington’s denial that he called Knight a “faggot” after the Golden Globes, Knight said: “Yeah, he denied that he said it (faggot)..I don’t know what to say…really, about that.”

Knight also thanked Ellen for her bravery in deciding to come out so many years ago: “I was recently watching some of your interviews from that time and it was just .. It was so..I’m losing my words and I apologize it’s just very moving and it just meant so much.”

Following the Golden Globes on Monday, Knight’s co-star Katheringe Heigl defended Knight and expressed her disapproval at Washington’s behavior, which he denies ever happened.

You may have missed…
Grey’s Anatomy’s Katherine Heigl Scolds Washington for Slur [tr]
Isaiah Washington Still Obsessed with TR Knight [tr]
Grey’s Anatomy Actor T.R. Knight: “I’m Gay” [tr]
Tab: Isaiah Washington Used Gay Slur in Grey’s Anatomy Brawl [tr]


  1. Bart says

    After Washington’s comments at the Golden Globes this past Monday night, it’s clear that he has anger management problems. Hopefully he will have plenty of time to focus in on those issues when he gets booted from Grey’s Anatomy.

  2. Stephen says

    I believe Washington needs to ‘fess up and apoogize for the slur. Yeah, I think he said it.

    What annoys me about this (and similar incidents) is that the media, talk show hosts, et al. milk them like a cow, making them larger than life itself.

    Once Washington apologizes (assumedly), let’s ALL put it behind us. No, let’s ALL put it behind us now, whether he (Washington) chooses to do the right thing or not.

  3. rudy says

    Why should we put it behind us, particularly if the perp does not acknowledge what he said? Failing to call out someone–in the public eye especially–who uses offensive words is a large part of the problem. It is tacit acceptance and that is why we should definitely not put it behind us without a specific and public apology. Grow some balls. Do you routinely let others insult you by questioning your masculinity?

  4. Malibu Boy says

    With Washington’s obvious abilities at lying and living in denial, perhaps he should quit acting and replace Mayor Nagin in New Orleans. That way he could still remain on tv and still lie saying stuff like “There is no crime in New Orleans”. “The levees are safe”. “We have the city under control”.

  5. Cadence says

    I don’t Want Washington to apologize. His comments about wanting to be gay/wishing he was gay, show that he just doesn’t get why his slur was offensive. Any apology would be empty, and just a ploy to make people forget what he said. I think we should just continue to watch as I. Washington hurts himself and his career, and watch the fallout.

  6. Stephen says


    I would seek an apology from anyone who would denigrate or slur me. If that wasn’t forthcoming, I’d not be in that person’s company again.

    In this case, T R Knight could walk away from the show, but for obvious reasons –he enjoys his craft, he takes home a good paycheck — he will probably stay with the cast and associate with Washington ONLY as the actor, but not personally, for a nanosecond.

  7. rudy says

    Why should TR Knight walk away? You would expect him to leave his job because a co-worker insulted him? I would take him to “fist city” (to quote the divine Loretta) if he did not immediately apologize. His female co-worker is exhibiting more balls with her threat to throw down IW than your ridiculous suggestion to walk away.

  8. just sayin' says

    “In this case, T R Knight could walk away from the show, but for obvious reasons –he enjoys his craft, he takes home a good paycheck — he will probably stay with the cast and associate with Washington ONLY as the actor, but not personally, for a nanosecond.”

    Posted by: Stephen | Jan 17, 2007 9:40:04 AM

    What?! T.R. Knight was called a “f****t” and he’s the one that’s supposed to QUIT?! This is the most f**ked up/perverse/self-hating argument I’ve seen in a long, long time. Man, you have some serious issues to resolve and good luck with it.

  9. Stephen says

    Right Ben.
    I shouldn’t impose my opinion on you or others. I will put it behind me.

    And no, I don’t think T R should walk away — knee Washington in the nuts is more like it, or something similar.

  10. Leland says

    Stephen, your attitude, from wherever it comes—e.g., you’re 8-years old and still believe all that “everything is beautiful” crap your nana or the nuns teach you; you’re a textbook mascochist and get off literally on being abused; you work for Washington’s publicist; ad nauseum—makes you, if you are, in fact, gay yourself, a bigger problem than people like Washington [or Michael Richards or Mel Gibson or….]. Ironically, Monday is the beginning of GLSEN’s annual “No Name-Calling Week.” That’s geared at school children [and the American Taliban fights it in the schools in the name of the right to harass in Jesus’ name]; but what’s Washington’s excuse? There IS no excuse, but there is an explanation, and a HUGE part of it is people like you, gay and straight, who refuse to believe that words don’t just hurt but they can kill. They kill the spirit; they kill self-acceptance; they contribute to a climate of gay hatred that kills legislation and sometimes lead to killing gays. Interviews with convicted killers of gays reveal that it is not their individual homophobia alone that causes it but the belief that society approves such acts. Perhaps worst of all, it sometimes leads to gays, particularly but not soley the the young, killing themselves. The high school senior in Pennsylvania so distraught at being accused of being gay that after flinching on the first gun shot, still pulls the trigger a second time and blows his brains against the wall. The 15-year old in Canada who probably didn’t even know whom he was attracted to you but was terrorized for two years at school and by e-mail and hung himself from the tree in his backyard. The stories are endless and they will not stop until the Washingtons and the Ann Coulters and the sports stars and society is made to understand that faggot equals nigger equals kike equals spik equals hate speech and though “free” in a general context, there will be consequences in the workplace. If the incident occured as reported, he should have been fired simply for the physical attack part of it, even if he hadn’t said ANYTHING. That he wasn’t; that the producer has allegedly perpetuated the lie that he said nothing bigotted; shows that there is something deeply wrong behind the show, even if it does employ class acts like Knight and Heigl.

    The saddest fact is that even if Washington is fired, after a period of a few months he’ll be on the “Hire” list again [not that he shouldn’t be IF repeat IF he adequately, publicly apologizes], but Knight, now pegged as “that fag actor with the smell of controversy” will probably rarely work again after the show’s run, even with one of Follywood’s infinite number of professionally closeted gays are making the decision.

  11. Jon says

    How ironic that TR, who was called a faggot to try to dehumanize him and make him weak, make him less of a man, showed just what a strong man he is today.

    He was the epitome of grace and class on ‘Ellen’, without compromising himself. He finally said flat out what Washington had said about him. He seemed so nervous when he tried to explain why he came out, and how he looked up to Ellen. It was so obvious that he was still unsure of what to say or do, which makes it all the more brave he came out.

    I don’t want to overvictimize, because he’s a successful actor who is making good money while many gays and lesbians have nothing, but his demeanor on here, how shaken up he was that someone would treat him that way, was a huge example of the damage homophobia can do to people.

    Maybe all those housewives out there watching will see what damage bigotry does.

    And thank you TR for finally coming forward and doing this. I hope that you find all the happiness and success you deserve.

    If this is up on Youtube I hope someone can post it.

  12. busytimmy says

    Hey, I like the fact that Washington is lying about the incident, even as the truth is coming out. Let that ugly word lie there like a big stinking turd for all the world to see. Let them see the contrast between Knight’s eloquent words and Washington’s ugliness. In my mind, one cannot apologize for such words. Washington has exposed a deep sickness in his soul, an unconciousness that simple apologies cannot heal. He should be fired from this show.

  13. miss dna says

    Leland that was beautifully put and you are so right. I have a neighbor who was using gay slurs directed at me. My manager and I called his management company and informed them. The slurs stopped. You have to take a stand if you’re going to change things. Like the song says: You have to fight for the right to be queer!

  14. Cory says

    1) I’m impressed that Ellen even acknowledged the fact that she is gay on her show, something I have yet to see her do (not that she should, being gay isn’t the only thing she is, but c’mon, in this day and age it’s still important).


    Thanks. =)

  15. Randy says

    This is a publicity machine’s wet dream… the junket that is handling Gay’s Anatomy just got a huge raise for getting this little show into all the papers and talk shows.

    Its a pretty simple formula people. There is a reason entertainment is called “an industry”.
    Step one : Encourage casting director to hire
    a relatively unknown star(let) that is gay but is willing to be in the closet for a few months.

    Step two: Get costar to publicly slur said star(let) for maximum media exposure

    Step three: Public Outcry. Public Apologies. Secret smirks from all parties involved.

    Step four: Win Golden Globe for best TV drama.

    Who HASN’T been called a faggot before?? Come on people, whatever happened to “sticks and stones, words blah blah.” Being called a gay slur sucks but doesn’t it seem this is being drawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn out way to long. Yeah so do I. But again, because we (and Ellen!) are still banging on about, I would say that the mission was accomplished.

  16. Rudy says

    Leland, I adore your passion. Although sometimes I get concerned that your words and way of phrasing may cause some not to hear your truth, I never cease to cheer on your willingness to stand up for yourself and our community. You know I will always have your back. Yes, certain words hurt because they are intended to hurt. There are no benign insults. Put the haters (including self-haters) on notice, we will not tolerate their insults and bigotry any longer. Sing out Leland!

  17. LightningLad says

    I can tell a post is written by Leland before looking at the name at the bottom because he feels he has to personally insult anyone who has a different opinion from his.

  18. Joseph says

    In my work experience, I have twice been the recipient of anti-gay slurs; in both instances, I immediately notified management of the situation and both times the perpetrator was terminated. Why is this not happening in this case?

  19. anon says

    I suspect Randy might be right to some degree. The way everyone abuses each other in Hollywood is well known–they don’t have any ethics at all, let alone tolerance and understanding. TR sounds very sweet and shy and loveable but perhaps a touch naive. There are reports he might be leaving the show. Kids need to be told from an early age that they are going to have good days and bad days and need to learn how to deal with it. Most teen suicides are some way related to clinical depression–which is apparently very difficult if not impossible to treat in teenagers. It’s hard to say what sort of thing you could do to help a kid who thinks they have no good solutions to their problems–and the flip side is that you don’t know what sets them off. This sort of thing is better left in the medical realm than in the political-social one. And I think I should note that name-calling is practiced on this blog as in real-life without any apparent self-awareness. Pots and kettles, people!

  20. Brucie says

    Randy, that was some of the weirdest logic I’ve ever heard. You really believe this was planned? You really believe this was a ploy to get more people to watch what is, by the way, already one of the most successful shows on television? And again, why should TR duck his head and walk away? You’re as bad as Stephen on this–just more offensive.

  21. Randy says

    Brucie writes :
    Randy, that was some of the weirdest logic I’ve ever heard.
    >> Welcome to La-la land. Hollyweird. Scripted reality….etc. It still AMAZES me that people thing what the entertainment industry pumps out isn’t total fabrication.

    You really believe this was planned?
    >> It may not have been “planned” but as SOON as things like this happen, Spin occurs. It is a fact of the Hollywood machine.

    You really believe this was a ploy to get more people to watch what is, by the way, already one of the most successful shows on television?
    >> Well if gay people weren’t watching before with the ever advertised naked scenes with Patrick Dempsey, they are now because there’s a confirmed gay in the cast. Has Out done a cover yet?? Because they will.

    And again, why should TR duck his head and walk away?
    >> He shouldn’t duck away…but who do you think was the first person confronted when this situation went down? His lawyer? His boss, the studio? No, the first people that were addressed were the media.

    You’re as bad as Stephen on this–just more offensive.
    >> Shut up fa&&ot (jk!)

  22. Zeke says

    Why is it that I can count on ONE hand the number of actors, politicians and sports stars COMBINED who had the STRENGTH OF CHARACTER and COURAGE to come out of the closet without being pushed out through scandal, outing or threats of outing?

    You would think that it would be statistically impossible to have so many gay men involved in these industries but so very few who have come out professionally without being pushed out.

    Is it that these industries attract men who put a great deal of importance on “playing the part” of being a “man” with a lot of posing, posturing and acting but very little importance on true character traits that should be associated with manhood like strength, courage, honesty, integrity, a willingness to stand up for yourself and others in your community and the balls to stand for what’s right EVEN when you stand alone?

    Honest to God, I am sick to death of ball-less “looks and acts straight” homos. Give me a flaming queen with a REAL set of cajones and the courage to stand up for himself and his brothers/sisters, JUST BECAUSE it’s the right thing to do, ANY DAY over a person who’s concept of masculinity revolves around idolizing straight men (and all too often idolizing the most negative character traits of those men) and pretending not to be gay.

    Lance Bass, TR Knight, Neil Patrick Harris, Jim McGreevy, Mark Foley, blah, blah, blah. I think they ALL send the same message to gay youth; homosexuality is something to be ashamed of and hide as long as you can, right up to the point that scandal or events beyond your control make it impossible to keep it a secret.

    Don’t get me wrong, I applaud each and every one of these men’s coming out leaps. I just long for the day when we have gay heroes and idols that send the message to kids that being gay is cool and coming out on your own gives YOU the power over your life by taking away the power to shame and oppress from others. As long as most of our gay heroes are people who were forced out and people like Nate Berkus continue to top lists of gay heroes, that message will never get through to gay kids.

    Sorry to go so negative but honestly, think about it, who are our heroes and why do we look up to them? I think it’s time that we, as a community, re-evaluate our heroes and the values/character traits that we admire in them.

  23. Zoltar says

    I tolerate an honest homophobe or an honest ally. I can’t stand two-faced bullies.

    Washington should either admit the slur and say he’s sorry, or admit the slur and say he’s not sorry. And then simply live with the consequences, either way. But casting slurs around and then denying it diminishes him even more. What a cowardly pissant. At least James Dobson and Pat Robertson have the balls to admit they’re our enemies.

  24. Randyisafa&&ot says

    Who HASN’T been called a faggot before?? Come on people, whatever happened to “sticks and stones, words blah blah.” Being called a gay slur sucks but doesn’t it seem this is being drawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn out way to long. Yeah so do I. But again, because we (and Ellen!) are still banging on about, I would say that the mission was accomplished.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 17, 2007 11:43:01 AM

    Maybe you’re the cowardly type who has no problem with being called a faggot but if some piece of shit said that to me, I’d have no problem defending myself. I don’t care how many people use the word, it doesn’t make it alright. And it sounds like you’re the one who is living in La-la land. =)

  25. Matt says

    I really can’t stand the post written by leland. It’s cool to disagree with a view but don’t insult someone with an opposing view. While I don’t agree with all of Stephen’s viewpoints, he at least doesn’t bust anyone’s chops for disagreeing with him.

  26. Zeke says

    Jeeze Rudy, you’re starting to sound like me! Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

    Leland, my friend, starting with, and everything FOLLOWING, the sentence, “Ironically, Monday is the beginning of GLSEN’s annual “No Name-Calling Week.”…” was one of the most brilliant, passionate and persuasive of the MANY brilliant, passionate and persuasive comments that you’ve made at Towleroad.

    You know all too well what I think about the sentences that preceded it.

    No argument, no matter how valid, persuasive or beautifully worded can change the heart or mind of an opponent when the opening sentence insults him, especially when the opponent has been polite and respectful in presenting his argument.

    You’re still one of my all time favorite commenters even if you keep the “ad hominem editor” function of my mental word processor working over time.

  27. Leland says

    Thanks, Miss DNA & Rudy. Those who don’t like my approach don’t have to read what I write. This is discussion not a tea party with the play set you got for Xmas, and the issues are too serious. And, thanks to you, too, Zeke, for your comments about the message staying in the closet sends to gay kids and society at large. I do disagree a little bit about Knight and Harris. Given the unique circumstances in which their sexuality was first publicly discussed, I would have bet money that they would have simply remained silent—and the issue would have quickly evaporated. Too many posters here evaluate a situation solely through their own perspective when, for example, straights, and even some gays, will say to me, “What? Lily Tomlin is GAY?!!!” “What? Some people are convinced Tom Cruise is GAY?!!!”

    For all of my rants about public figures having a moral responsibility to come out, e.g., Anderson Cooper, the one area that I still judge on a case-by-case basis is acting. I wish it were not true, but I am convinced the majority of the public would no longer take seriously an out gay actor playing a straight romantic role. Those aren’t the kind of roles that have paid Harris’s rent, but new-to-the-public Knight, while he’ll never get the kind of dashing romantic “leads” that Cruise has, is playing a straight guy in love on the very show around which Washington melted down. And, I say, Bravo, and wish him well.

  28. Zeke says

    I’m not so sure I buy into this “nobody can accept a gay man in a straight romantic role” meme although I’ve heard it over and over again ad nauseam. I think we have created a self-fulfilling prophesy. We (even gay people) continue to make and repeat this claim until we have successfully turned a concern into a reality. The fact of the matter is gay people, who aren’t even actors, play straight romantic leading roles, CONVINCINGLY, every day single day in every single community in America.

    Maybe I’m living in a fantasy world but I believe that anyone who can buy Charlize Theron as an overweight, unattractive, mass-murdering, lesbian prostitute or Mel Gibson as a Scotsman of NOBLE CHARACTER fighting and dying to preserve his highland heritage or Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney et al as the Caped Crusader driving around Gotham City in the Bat Mobile, has the capacity to accept an out gay man in a straight romantic lead role.

    Besides, how do we know what would happen? Has it ever really been tried? And please spare me the example of Rupert Everett in that god awful Madonna movie. The straightest of straight and the hottest of hot men couldn’t have saved that disaster.

    The fact of the matter is, unless they’re in a documentary about themselves, actors play characters every day that may not resemble themselves in any way. I believe that a talented, out, gay actor, in a good straight romantic lead role in a good movie could and would pull it off if given the chance.

    Unfortunately we’ll never know until some ballsy leading male actor comes out and is given the opportunity to prove himself.

    Not holding my breath…

  29. LightningLad says

    >>Those who don’t like my approach don’t have to read what I write.

    Don’t worry, LeLe – Like I said, I can tell it’s you after just a sentence or two and I skip the rest.

    >>This is discussion not a tea party.

    A “discussion” implies a respectful exchange of opinions. As soon as someone asserts an opinion different from yours, you start hurling the tea cups.

    Learn to play nicely, hon and maybe more people might respect your opinions.


  30. yeahisaidit says

    …Zeke,…”flaming queen…” (inserted in one of your earlier posts), tsk..tsk, such language,I can hardly begin to brace myself for the amount outrage you will have to face as a gay man using such a slur in reference to other gay men, for shame…or wait, that’s allowed, right?

  31. Da says

    Zeke said
    >>>You would think that it would be statistically impossible to have so many gay men involved in these industries but so very few who have come out professionally without being pushed out.

    There are already a lot of out gay men in the music and film industry, but most of them are unsupported. And they get turned down by the major record labels and TV producers who tells them no-one would ever be interested in out & proud celebs. It’s the BUSINESS.

    I think if we really want things to change as a public, we have to put pressure on the industry to deliver some gay acts, and do our job in supporting those who are already there and struggling.

    If any of you are interested in discovering some great queer musicians in pop, hip-hop, rock etc and so on try these sites and spread the word!


  32. Jon says

    “Lance Bass, TR Knight, Neil Patrick Harris, Jim McGreevy, Mark Foley, blah, blah, blah. I think they ALL send the same message to gay youth; homosexuality is something to be ashamed of and hide as long as you can”

    There’s a huge difference between the people you listed. Bass came out long after his career was over. McGreevey and Foley only came out after they were involved in sex scandals, the Foley one leading to a criminal investigation.

    Knight could have still tried to cling to the closet even after all this started. He came out precisely BECAUSE he wanted people to see being gay is not something to be ashamed of.

    No celebrity is ever going to have a perfect coming out that is all hearts and flowers and exactly what you want.

    “Being called a gay slur sucks but doesn’t it seem this is being drawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn out way to long. ”

    This was something the network and Shonda tried to shut down. The matter would have gone if Isaiah Washington had not started it up again. This is his fault.

    Honest to God, I am sick to death of ball-less “looks and acts straight” homos”

    You mean like Sean Hayes, who still won’t come out? Or Nathan Lane, who only came out when his major chance at a career was over (no real movie or TV career – he had several failed movies and a failed sitcom)?

    I wouldn’t call TR Knight a “looks and acts straight” homo. He looks and acts like himself. I doubt he is in the mental state right now to pretend to be Butch McButch.

    I thought he handled himself with real class and dignity today.

  33. Zeke says

    Are there any more of you who would like to twist and manipulate my words to say things I didn’t say?

    I won’t waste time challenging the mischaracterizations of my statements or the straw man arguments that resulted. I will rest assured that most of you know me, know my heart and know my intent. Those of you who don’t know me can, and will, believe what you want.

  34. Seann says

    I agree with Zeke. These people who have recently come out only seem to do so after the fact. They came out after they were sure that there wouldn’t be a supreme backlash or a scandal erupts that they can’t control.

    They’re cowards in my eyes.

  35. Da says

    Zeke, I hope my reply didn’t come off as shouting because of them caps. You’re one of the posters I respect the most on here, regardless of your opinions on whichever topic.

    On this issue, I feel like it’s misplaced anger than to solely hate on the closeted in the industry. There are many other culprits as well, namely the “system”..and ourselves. I may repeat myself, but it’s really absurd to go through so many gay sites, mags and our very own Glaad Awards and see that the only stars that we’re fawning over are always the straight actors. And preferably the furthest ones from looking any gay..what signal do we think it sends to the industry?? that we’re not likely to spend our dough on any celeb that is *out*. Which defies the very purpose of coming out to the closet.

    I think someone has to make a stand, hopefully many, and it’ll create a snowball effect. ie Let’s start researching the gay artists (they’re everywhere), and give them a bit of attention. Give them some of the praise we’re throwing at straight celebs, and we’ll send a message to the industry that we want to be represented. And that can start with any of us, the way we refer to our queer artists. I try to do my small part in that.

    Btw there’s a great article written by gay R&B singer Ari Gold in this month’s Advocate where he gives inside accounts of what gay artists are treated when meeting with record labels. That really opened my eyes, and set me on a crusade to give more respect to our gay artists. Everyone needs to read this.


  36. Zeke says

    DA, I didn’t take offense from your comment at all. I actually agree with everything you said.

    I would like to point out that I don’t think your statement contradicts any of my comments, they simply add to them. I fully understand that the problem is larger than the individuals I mentioned. It is deeply engrained within the sports/Hollywood/political industry as well as within the American psyche, INCLUDING and sometimes MOST ESPECIALLY within the gay psyche.

    It’s hard to ask straight America and Hollywood America to understand the problems of negative gay stereotypes and homophobia when gay America is consistently one of the biggest disseminators and perpetrators of gay-negative stereotypes and homophobia.

  37. Robbin says

    I feel that the recent performance by Isaiah Washington back stage at the Golden Globes continues a disturbing trend of hateful self absorbed stars freely spewing there own prejudices with no consequences. First we hear Washington started a fight with one co-star, apparently not his first fight, and then we hear he called T.R. Knight a fagot. Then he denies it in the most inappropriate place and way, only further showing his insensitive self promoting ways. Then we hear on “Ellen” that he did say it. So he’s violent, hateful, prejudice and dishonest. If he was on Lost they would have killed off his character by now. The thing Washington has in common with Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, besides rage, aggression, hate, and prejudice is they are all incredibly arrogant. That’s a lot of character flaws. I love the show and hope that you will show the character that the fans and the rest of the cast deserve and send a message that this kind of intolerance has no place on your show. All prejudice is the same.

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