Isaiah Washington: A Status Report

Patrick Dempsey reports to Access Hollywood‘s Billy Bush that there have been no recent outbursts from Isaiah Washington since he returned to the Grey’s Anatomy set.

Isaiah_1Said McDreamy: “It’s hard. I haven’t spent enough time around to honestly know what’s going on with him. I haven’t spoken to him about it. You do have a feeling when you look at him that something is different and that he is working on things. You can’t get away from the fact he’s doing a great job on the show. He does beautiful work. He’s very passionate about it. He allows himself to feel deeply and sometimes, that’s very difficult to contain and control appropriately…I think good will come from this.”

Hollywood website TMZ caught up with Isaiah outside L.A. restaurant Orso last week (video). According to Washington, “everything is a blessing” with regard to his relationship with T.R. Knight. When TMZ asked if he had made amends with the gay community, Washington replied “I don’t know. What have you heard?” When asked about his staying on the show, Washington says: “I think that’s the important thing, still giving the people what they want.”


  1. FizziekruntNT says

    Just like when Lance “really stupid” Armstrong got up and did his LAME Brokeback comment to Jake Gyllenhaal in the audience, Washington deserves to have someone just walk up to him and give him a huge smack in the face. “Give the people what they want…” indeed.

  2. says

    There’s “stupid,” not-ill-meaning homophobia [Armstrong; Gyllenhaal’s tired SNL drag routine], and there is stupid, but willful and aggressive and vicious homophobia [Washington, Hardaway, the Pope, ad infinitum].

    This people wants Washington to willfully, agressively, passionately grow the fuck up, but his obvious failure to have wilfully NOT apologized to Knight, plus his comment about the show, without any clarifying context, suggests he still has a long way to go. What’s best for the show is not the measuring stick of what’s right here. And I, for one, am STILL waiting for a public apology to Knight and the gay community from the show’s creator/producer for failing to have adequately responded to the original incident LAST OCTOBER!

  3. Peterfrnd says

    If that word had been N*GG*R he would have been fired.

    Shonda rhimes is a black producer who wants to protect her black actors.

    The apology would be too little too late.

    When he says “what did you hear” it means he only doing what abc is forcing him too. There’s no remorse.

    Fire him now

  4. sean says

    right on leland. although i would have made just one revision to your comment… from “ad infinitum” to “ad nauseam.” seems so much more appropriate, don’t cha think?

  5. says


    There is really no evidence for that charge. Be critical of Washington but to turn this into a “those black folk sure love to protect their own” scene is sort of silly.

  6. Wayne says

    I’m not so sure that Peter is out of line here. Even the Oscar’s showed their racism last night by having the black anchor (whoever he was, I’d never seen him before) interviewing the black actors and the white anchor interviewing the white actors… it was appalling to me and very blatant.

  7. Toto says

    Wow! I didnt know there was a difference between “stupid, not-ill-meaning homophobia” and “willful and aggressive homophobia”. I thought it was all just…. homophobia.

  8. Da says

    TMZ aren’t exactely a credible source for seeking the truth for the sake of any community.

    However, we can applaud them for the masterful way they exploded into the gossip scene after skillfully blowing up the “Britney almost drops baby” and “Firecrotch” incident to world proportion scandal.

  9. SGR says

    It’s out of line to assume there’s a race-based reason at work here, unless you’re a racist who can only see actions by people who are black as somehow motivated by them being black.

    There’s nothing”racist” about anchors who are black interviewing actors who are black. Unless you’re pining for the good old days when all anchors and actors were white, or have some bizarre need to have a black anchor with a white actor for some kind of PC balance.

    It would be a better world if some of you stopped being so focused on race and just took people for who they are.

  10. Jason says

    BTW, the reason why Andre Leon Tally (sp?) interviewed Jennifer Hudson was because he styled her for awards season, not because of their mutual blackness.

    Although Shonda Rhimes exec produces grey’s anatomy, all final hiring and firing decisions come from her ABC bosses. I sincerely doubt that she has any power to “protect her own.” Besides, do you really follow the anachronistic belief that black people share a monolithic mindset?

  11. Luke says

    Its kinda funny how some of the dizzy queens here are throwing their usual racist nonsense into the thread. I.Washington is a homophobic boob, call him out on that, but, nope those with racist tendencies, and Lord knows there are more than a few who post here, start dishing racist crap about a whole group of people. Some of these gay men and women to a much lesser extent need to get over their own intolerance and bigotry before they start demanding others to do the same, be cause respect is a two way street.

  12. Wayne says

    I didn’t say I had an issue with the black/black and white/white interviews, I simply said it happened. Andre Tally was on ABC and interviewed Will and Jada Smith, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Fox and Forest Whitaker, with no white’s interviewed at all. And they’re white host didn’t interview anyone of color, not even a hispanic, however they did cut to Lisa Ling interviewing some hispanic actors. As I said, it just seemed odd the way this played out.

  13. says

    In the absence of any proof to the contrary, after repeatedly reading the claim “ABC controls all” over the past few weeks, I submit this from the October 2005 issue of “Ebony”: “’Grey’s Anatomy’ is literally [Rhimes’] product from start to finish. …Sure, the series is a collaborative effort, but Rhimes still has the ultimate say. She approves the scripts from the writers, participates in the casting and selects all the music used in the show.” In short, the idea that she can do nothing without ABC’s approval is CRAP. Sure, they could say, “Do X or we’re taking the series off the air immediately.” But it’s one of their biggest hits, getting bigger by the week, and they would only kill one of their golden gooses in circumstances it’s impossible to imagine developing.

    Forget firing him, in any case, she always had the freedom to release a statement something like, “It’s true that an incident occurred on our set in which one of our actors slurred another member of the cast with hateful language. I want our viewers, I want the media, and I want the world to know what my cast knows: I reject all forms of homophobia and none of my team is more important than that. I am taking steps to see that it never happens again and that amends is duly paid.”

    But she did nothing like that, did she, Blanche? Not then; not after his second outrage at the Golden Globes; not today. And, regardless of her race, one has to wonder why.

  14. rudy says

    Leland, Second that! Worse than not saying anything vaguely apologetic, she giggled when IW exacerbated his homophobic behaviour with his bigoted tirade at the Golden Globes. Ms. Rhimes has the ability and the repsonsiblity but she has done nothing but encouraged IW by her omissions.

  15. Cory says

    LELAND: Excellent point. Where is the producer, who hand picked all the actors due to the desire to create a diverse television show that rightfully depicts a diverse world, in all of this? Ms. Rhimes has not said one thing about this incident, and I wonder if that is her decision or ABC’s. Either way, as an individual who champions diversity, one would assume she would have something important to say.

  16. sean says

    just stop watching the show period (“grey’s”). it’s not even very original. hmmm, a show about doctors. trail blazing. i’d rather watch reruns of “st. elsewhere.”

  17. Joe T. says

    I agree with Fangirl. My boyfriend used to like to watch it, and I found it unbearably stupid. Would you want to be wheeled into a hospital without one Jew, Japanese, or Indian on the staff?! That’s scary.

  18. Cadence says

    Actually Leland, she did admit that it happened. At the GG she said that no reporter made up anything that happened. You can read it on the eonline site, in Ted Cassablanca’s (I think that’s his name) section.

  19. Cadence says

    Also, I don’t think Rhimes is protecting Washington, as much as she is protecting her show. She should have issued a public statement when it first happened, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t address the issue between the two actors, which is much more important than PR.

  20. SoCal says

    1) Jason is spot-on – ABC has all of the hiring/firing power, not Ms. Rhimes. If the network wanted him gone, he’d be gone; but he’s not and the show’s #1 in the ratings, so that’s that. Cadence is also correct – Ms. Rhimes is protecting her show as well as her own position – she is subject to the same hiring/firing policies as anyone else in the Tragic Kingdom.

    2) Leland, you’ve got to be kidding – Ebony Magazine? Even if they did write in 2005 that “it was her creative product from start to finish” that has NOTHING to do with the CONTRACT she had to sign with Touchstone to produce her product (under terms most beneficial to them) and ABC/Touchstone to put her product on the air (again, under terms most beneficial to them).

    3) Cory – first or second time executive producers don’t get to “hand-pick” their actors; right now only Jerry Bruckheimer and Dick Wolf get to do that.

    2) Isiah has apologized – and I believe those were his words, not solely the ABC publicity machine (he can be articulate and heartfelt on his own, if you’ve read any of his older interviews). He has sought out “help” – whatever ABC deemed that was – and he’s now back on the set, keeping a low profile and doing (my opinion) excellent work. TMZ’s wording of the interview as written above seems a little odd, maybe a little biased, so I wouldn’t take it as 100% accurate or be so quick to judge his progress based on it.

    I dunno, maybe leave the guy alone for a while?

  21. says

    SOCAL: I dunno, maybe you can….kiss my ass. Nothing you’ve asserted [have you read the contract? Is slavery back?], including praising his acting, has anything to do with my point, any more than Cadence misquoting Rhimes’ cryptic comment at the Globes—which actually seemed nothing more than a shell game attempt to pretend that nothing serious had happened: “Things were created in a very odd way by the press that were not necessarily completely reported as true.”

    That was seconds before Washington, in a self-destructive act that will haunt him for years, lept forward and used the F-world again; she responded with a giggle which however much a “nervous” reaction was an insult to gays, even if she did wet her panties at the same time. As I’ve written before, if T.R. Knight or another white cast member had lept to the mike and said, “I never called Isaiah a nigger,” there’s no way in Hell, let alone Hollywood, that she would have laughed, nervous or not.

    Washington ripped out of hands her attempt to neutralize the reporter’s question with the suggestion that stuff had been made up AND her ability to deny the seriousness of the incident months before, AND her irresponsibility at the time.

    You poopoo “Ebony,” how about the Associated Press TV critic on January 20th:
    “A program relies on the executive producer, dubbed a ‘showrunner’, to set the tone, especially when a crisis hits, said writer-producers Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman (‘Queer as Folk’, ‘Sisters’). ‘You’re very much in charge, in control, and people look up to you in that way’, said Lipman. ‘They will follow suit in how you handle it.’ He and Cowen once had to deal with an actor whose public remarks had infuriated fellow cast members, who snubbed him. The man chose not to return for another season and ‘frankly, we would have decided that as well’, Cowen said, declining to identify the actor.”

    Like Rhimes, Cowen/Lipman had a contract with their network but the first responsibility was theirs, as it was hers with Washington.

    Finally, on January 24th, nine days after Washington’s second meltdown, and three MONTHS after his first, Rhimes, six days after ABC’s own apology, I guess her panties finally dry, said, “I speak for all the executive producers here at ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ when I say that Isaiah Washington’s use of such a disturbing word was a shocking and dismaying event that insulted not only gays and lesbians everywhere, but anyone who has ever struggled for respect in a world that is not always accepting of difference.”

    So she was disturbed, shocked, and dismayed, but still not apologetic for her failure to fire the asshole three months before nor for attempting to blame the press for distorting the facts. And Washington’s most recent comments “a little odd”? Simply watch the video—Andy quoted him verbatim.

    There’s no way he should still be on the show.

  22. jake says

    so much drama, about a lame tv show and the jerks that star on it. if those who are so offended by the homophobic remarks would also come on denounce the racist ones here, then they would have some credibilty, until then, long winded bores, who should just stick to the pretty boy stories.

  23. Cory says

    3) Cory – first or second time executive producers don’t get to “hand-pick” their actors; right now only Jerry Bruckheimer and Dick Wolf get to do that.

    Posted by: SoCal | Feb 26, 2007 8:05:13 PM

    I can’t recall exactly where I read that Shonda Rhimes had the final say in her cast selection, but I know for certain that was the case. While working with ABC, one of her stipulations was selecting a racially diverse cast that reflected what she personally believes to be representative of the general population and/or hospital staff. Ms. Rhimes insisted on this and given her writing credits (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” as an example) and ABC’s desire for a hit show at the time of her pitch, they pretty much gave her cart blanche in regards to selecting the final cast (again, I read this, I don’t personally know this but in a few of her interviews she does specifically state her intension on racial diversity).

  24. rudy says

    Leland, Second that again. I admire your willingnees to take on those who adamantly refuse to think. Some people cannot be bothered to fight their own battles even when they have so much skin in the game. Pathetic.

  25. SoCal says

    Leland –

    as much as I have enjoyed your comments in the past, your profane response to my post was uncalled for and immature – you are behaving like a schoolyard bully to anyone who opposes your point of view.

    I would hardly depend on Ebony for accurate reporting on the specifics of a network drama series deal, and I don’t think anyone else who looks for the details would either. As for Cowan and Lipman, by the time they were EPs for Queer as Folk, they’d done 5 or six series in a showrunner capacity and some 10 or 12 pilots along with that – so yes, they have a great deal of experience and power, not to mention they were working for a cable network known for giving EP’s carte blanche and not a micro-manager like ABC. Oh yes, and they’re white men.

    Cory – I fully realize and relate to Ms. Rhimes insistence on a diverse cast. I’ve done it, I know others who have, it’s atough fight but not impossible. Nonetheless, the network has the final say on specific cast choices either outright (at network callbacks), or in the contract negotiating process. And although you can certainly insist on talent (actor, director, writer, etc.) of color and the network will contractually make “all best efforts” to do so, if they have a holdover talent deal they can burn off by putting them in your show, they’ll do it – that’s the deal you make to get your show on the air.

    I, for one, am giving Isiah the benefit of the doubt and at the very least appreciate his apology and attempts to just lay low and get back to doing excellent work. It’s also worth noting that Grey’s Anatomy is getting its best ratings ever (in the history of Thursday night dramas for them) in spite of all the behind-the-scenes drama.

    Some of us try to see the glass full; Leland prefers to yell at it.

  26. says

    White people enslaved niggers. White people beat them, sold their children and owned their parents. White people dragged niggers across the ocean in chains for the purpose of jumpstarting their economy with some free labor. White people lynched niggers, stole their land, and forced them to ride the back of the bus, and go to separate bathrooms. White people denied niggers the right to go to the same schools, and the right to vote. When niggers tried to take their place as equal human beings with equal rights in this country, they were fire-hosed, beaten, lynched (again), attacked by dogs, jailed, stabbed, spat upon, cursed from pulpits and assassinated. Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King are examples of people who paid the ultimate price for advocating equal rights. Thanks to their efforts and those of countless others niggers disappeared and African Americans emerged in their place. The price for the change was paid in sweat, pain, sacrifice and blood. Equality is still off somewhere in the future. We are getting closer, be we haven’t overcome yet. Not while practices like racial profiling still exist. I had to remind you folks because it is still Black History Month.

    Gay people face discrimination. The effect on the lives of people suffering from discrimination due to racism and homophobia is quite similar in most ways. Those effects are doubly difficult for people like me who are forced to hurdle both obstacles regularly in order to have a happy life. However, the history of the two is not the same. The price for equality must be paid. Gays cannot get a free ride and hide in the closet the way TR Knight did and then pop out and declare the word faggot and the word nigger are equal. They are not. One has to be peering through a particular shade of rose-colored glasses to attempt to call Rhimes out for not condemning Washington at the same time one coddles and supports Knight’s lack of forthrightness about his sexuality and the tepid “I am a man who happens to be gay, don’t give any grief about it” stances he has taken since he was “forced” out of the closet. Instead of facing up to Washington and saying “Yes I am gay and you are out of line calling me a faggot in my workplace” allowing his co-workers to support him, he hid in the closet, allowing others to fight his battles for him. Was it fear that was toping him? Do you think freedom fighters weren’t afraid when they had to face the Bull Conners of this world? Or those people who walked for more than a year during the Montgomery bus boycott in order to gain the right to sit down, after they paid their money. Do you really think it is going to come any easier for Gays? Why should Rhimes be making statements on Knight’s behalf if he isn’t standing up for his own truth? Instead some make the racist assumption that she supported Washington just because he was black. Not maybe because she knew him, and/or liked him, and/or was glad to have him working on her show, BUT, just because she’s black and he’s black. That’s what they do those black people. So you naturally attack her because you’re gay and Knight is gay. Is that how this goes?

    Under the column of adamantly refusing to think, so-called gay people steal the crown from the hood when it comes to not being able to see what’s right in front of you especially when it comes to your own racist issues. There is so much to learn from the long painful journey of blacks in America; especially since early pioneers of the “Gay” movement modeled it after the civil rights movement. Instead, no matter which gay blog I read, some men avail themselves of every opportunity to attack and denigrate black people. So you want an apology? Pay your fare.

  27. says

    It occurs to me that since I got caught up in the comments that I never commented on the post itself. So I have to wonder, what the hell is the point? 2 actors had a disagreement and one used the f-word and now he’s been turned into the grand wizard of the Klan.

    There is so much that’s unknown about what happened last October. Who was there? What really started it? Knight said on Ellen that he was not late, but he did not say what the disagreement was actually about. Dempsey has flatly denied that there was any physical altercation although I still see that reported regularly. In fact, Dempsey has offered no account of what happened or what he was reacting to when the voices were raised. Even the outspoken Heigl has never actually indicated whether she was there or not, nor has she given a full account of what happened that day. I recently watched for a 3rd time an interview on Oprah where she asked Knight, Dempsey, Washington and Avery about the incident (they were all there together) and all indicated it was more like a spat in a family than anything else and was the result of not communicating effectively, which led to resentments building up. It took less than 5 minutes and voices were raised, and then it was over. No physical violence. All agreed that Avery took Dempsey and Washington to task about the outburst later, and then they all put it to bed. Washington has never indicated why he reacted so angrily to the reporters’ questions at the Golden Globes. What was under his skin that day?

    Why would there be any need for Rhimes to make a public statement about a private matter that had already been handled internally, or an incident that all involved indicated was really a small internal matter? Through the end of last year the story was mostly conjecture and rumor. Actually, it remains that way today. Knight confirmed that Washington said the word on the Ellen show, but I have not seen where he stated that he feels that Washington dislikes him because he is gay, or that that he feels intimidated by Washington, or even that he dislikes Washington. Washington referenced him in his extensive pubic apology, but neither Washington, nor Knight nor even Dempsey has ever uttered a word about whether there was or was not a private apology. Although the resident mindreaders on this blog seem to think they know.

    Finally, I am struck by how similar in tone Dempsey and Washington comments are in the post. Both speak in carefully worded, non-committal statements. They remind me of men who’ve had trouble with the media and are trying to say as little as possible so as not to offend anyone. Seems to me that they are showing a little maturity, and it time for all of the others of us to follow suit. There are IMPORTANT battles to fight. Enough with the trivia already.