Gay Slurs | Isaiah Washington | News | Television

Isaiah Washington Anti-Hate PSA to Debut Tonight

A public service announcement featuring Isaiah Washington that is the result of meetings the actor had with GLAAD's Neil Giuliano and GLSEN's Kevin Jennings after Washington's repeated public use of the word "faggot" last January will air during back-to-back episodes of Grey's Anatomy tonight.

WashingtonIn the PSA, Washington says, “Words have power. The power to express love, happiness and joy. They also have the power to heal. When you use words that demean a person because of their sexual orientation, race or gender, you send a message of hate. A very powerful message. But we all have the power to demand better from one another and from ourselves. We have the power to heal and change the world by the words we use.”

Said Giuliano: “Words have power, and far too often we see them used to dehumanize people because of our differences. When Isaiah Washington lends his voice to that message — when he acknowledges the personal responsibility that he and each of us have to create a culture that rejects prejudice — it advances the kind of dialogue that’s absolutely essential to changing hearts and minds. We are gratified that with this PSA, ABC will be sharing this vital message with millions of viewers in the days and weeks to come.”

Added Jennings: “As an education organization, GLSEN believes in the power of the teachable moment. While there is no excuse for the use of this kind of language, we welcome the opportunity to use this incident to educate millions about the impact of name-calling on young people. We are grateful to ABC for bringing GLSEN’s message of respect to millions of households.”

WashGrey's Anatomy is on ABC from 9-11 tonight.

There has been much speculation in recent days on whether Isaiah Washington's character Dr. Burke will be returning to the show next season, with the Ny Post reporting that he won't be a regular but will return "possibly for a few episodes."

Towleroad contacted Washington's rep Howard Bragman for confirmation, and all he would say is that he stood by comments he made to the Associated Press last week, which were: "We fully expect to be back in the fall. The deal's not done but we have no reason to believe he won't be putting on the scrubs."

Bragman's comments don't necessarily contradict the report from the NY Post, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

The season finale of Grey's aired last week, and appeared to clear the way for Burke's possible departure from the show. I do wonder why these PSAs were not aired during the season finale when they could have been exposed to a much larger audience.

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  1. i heard through the grapevine this ass-clown's contract has not been renewed. now if only the entire show was canceled and that homophobic douche shonda run out of town would i even remotely entertain the idea of watching anything on ABC again. television is whoring... yawn.

    Posted by: sean | May 24, 2007 9:51:26 AM

  2. how thoughtful of ABC to air this PSA in a REPEAT of their top-rated show... way to show your support!

    Posted by: james | May 24, 2007 9:55:54 AM

  3. ABC aired it because they know no one will be watching a rerun when the season ended last week and let's face it, everyone know that Mr. Washington is ACTING during this PSA.

    Posted by: Matt | May 24, 2007 10:23:32 AM

  4. Would also be a nice gesture if Shonda appeared in the PSA and apologized for creating Grey's Anatomy to begin with. Ugh.

    Posted by: mark m | May 24, 2007 10:32:30 AM

  5. What a load of crap! I want to see the creep say fag and faggot in the spot and see the regret. Obviously the network and the FCC didn't have ANY problem with him using it before. I want to see that he sees the word nigger and faggot in the same class.

    Only GLAAD could come up with such a empty, useless, intellectually irrelevant copy.

    Posted by: BeeDee | May 24, 2007 10:40:04 AM

  6. They didn't run it last week because they didn't want to impact the tons of gold ABC is mining from Shondraland. Nor would Queen Shondra herself want anything but the final episode itself discussed. But although the chain of events SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE this IS progress to have the PSAs broadcast in primetime on one of the Big 3. They still won't carry condom ads. Most Americans have never seen the brilliant Church of Christ gay-friendly ads. And, yes, gazillions WILL still see these. TV show junkies are like any other junkie, they keep going back. Plus it's the kind of hit that keeps adding new viewers.

    So kudos to Washington who I have harshly criticized. And, speaking of TV shows, let me use this as an excuse to tell any LOST fan who missed the season finale last night to go into deep hibernation for the next week to avoid any spoilers of what happened [which even happened on my local ABC news affiliate]. It simply was as great a cliffhanger AS THERE HAS EVER BEEN ON ANY SHOW and more than totally redeems the creators' mistakes this season. Several MAJOR things happened but the last five minutes had me on the floor. Unless revealed next season to be a dream, which seems imperative, it turns the story TOTALLY UPSIDE DOWN. Only the very best cliffhangers from "X-Files" [before that series was destroyed] approach it.

    Posted by: Leland | May 24, 2007 11:05:31 AM

  7. White sheets, white hoods-- with rainbow signs on them.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 24, 2007 11:10:35 AM

  8. Leland: I attempted to post my comment before you posted. Your opinion on this subject is to be respected. My comment was meant for those who long for those gatherings on hot summer nights, stringing him to a tree, cutting off brown ears and black balls, and wathing him burn alive.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 24, 2007 11:25:22 AM

  9. Jesus Christ I hope the racist comments here get deleted ASAP!

    Posted by: Gregg | May 24, 2007 12:11:26 PM

  10. He could not be more contrite. And yet some still carry on as though he can't be forgiven (the first comment here is a good example of this). Which, to me, says more about them than about his initial mistake.

    Derrick's position is extreme, but you really have to wonder why the anger over this incident toward IW now--and I mean now, and not in the past--is still so out-of-control. To any rational person, IW has long-ceased to be the issue. Again, he could not be more contrite.

    I can see anger at the network for not firing him, and they should have, but they didn't. But that's anger at the network. Not at the actor. Short of disemboweling himself, there's nothing more he could do to show he knows he made a mistake and that he's sorry. However, that's still not good enough for some.

    Posted by: SGR | May 24, 2007 12:21:11 PM

  11. Sorry SGR, but no matter how 'contrite' he seems, you can't unring a bell. He said it because it's the way he thinks and 3 weeks of 'rehab' is not going to change it.

    Posted by: secretagentman | May 24, 2007 12:30:43 PM

  12. Andy probably knows the true answer, but I too have been told that Mr. Washington will no longer be at Grey's Anatomy. Good riddance. Like Andy said-wierd that his 'PSA' is only played on repeats of the tired show. Why was it not played on the live highly viewed show?

    Posted by: Otto | May 24, 2007 1:00:12 PM

  13. It still amazes me that after all this time, everybody still seems to believe that they KNOW what Isaiah Washington is about and how he feels...all based on a third hand report of an argument that none of us were there to witness. The whole "scandal" took on a life of it's own. And once he made his idiotic attempt at "humor" at the awards show, that was all the "justification" needed to string him up by his career. His comment/joke was idiotic, stupid etc., and it should have ended there. Has NO ONE here EVER said stupid shit, tried to play it off and apologized when called out on it? Didn't you expect to be forgiven? Don't you say "fuck you" to those who won't let it rest?
    Damn near everyday on this blog, people are defending their words and characters from attack by someone else (usually Leland) because they believe that they are being misunderstood and/or unfairly labeled as "retarded", "cretins" or some such slur. There's usually a catfight and then everyone moves on. MOVES ON!!

    Isaiah has no clout, no influence, no major power. Yes even "Black, straight" blogs have called his actions stupid, insensitive and wrong. And they have moved on! Why can't we do the same?

    Posted by: soulbrotha | May 24, 2007 1:16:11 PM

  14. Leland, slight correction with HUGE significance. It was the UNITED CHURCH of
    Christ whose gay supportive ads were denied by the major networks. The UCC is VERY different from the extremely conservative Church of Christ. It’s an unfortunate name recognition problem; for both us and them.

    Though the timing and placement of this PSA isn’t ideal, I think we are once again slapping good in the face for not being perfect. The message, and the significance of Washington doing it, is powerful. We should give credit for this step forward.

    I realize that Washington screwed up twice in as many months but I think it’s time for us to step back and give him a chance to make amends. If we refuse to forgive and refuse to give those who have screwed up a chance for redemption, then what is the incentive for ANYONE to grow?

    In my opinion encouraging revelation, reevaluation, rehabilitation and redemption should be our goal in response to homophobic speech; not destruction. When we don’t allow for this we end up making lifelong enemies out of potential allies. What do we gain from that?

    Posted by: Zeke | May 24, 2007 1:25:05 PM

  15. Leland - I totally agree that the season finale of LOST last night was a redemption for what they did the rest of the season. Not just the last 5 minutes, the whole thing. I was blown away.

    Posted by: silverskreen | May 24, 2007 1:46:52 PM

  16. Thanks for the correction, Zeke. I knew better but it didn't end up on the page. I've watched their "Bouncer" ad several times and it still makes this jaded old queen tear up. View at:

    While I'm a happy athiest camper, if you're an LGBT person who still needs religion, the UNITED Church of Christ's doors and hearts are open to you. 25 YEARS ago they ordained the first out gay minister of a mainline denomination, and, while the governing bodies of virtually every other mainline Xtian denomination are STILL debating that and even "civil unions," two years ago, in their own words, "the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has acted courageously to declare freedom, affirming marriage equality, affirming the civil rights of same gender couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages by the state, and encouraging our local churches to celebrate and bless those marriages." Amen.

    Posted by: Leland | May 24, 2007 1:57:06 PM

  17. [comment deleted - offensive comments must be brought to the attention of Towleroad using the email link near the top of the site - we do not have time to personally monitor all the threads on this blog so we rely on the readers to point them out to us - thanks]

    Posted by: Otto | May 24, 2007 2:21:49 PM

  18. Otto, what you said reveals more about you than Isaiah.
    You are an ignorant asshole. Rowr, hiss!

    And now I'm moving on. See how that works everybody?!

    Posted by: soulbrotha | May 24, 2007 2:34:37 PM

  19. Otto:
    I think your comment actually should have been aimed at me, not Soulbrotha. I'm the one who compared this on going campaign by y'all to the behavior of a lynch mob.
    BUt, you hit it right on the button with the "black on black crime" stuff. I never wanted to say it, but if Isaiah had called a black gay actor a faggot, most of y'all couldn't have cared less. You just love any excuse to use the word "NIGGER".

    You know, if Mel Gibson had called someone a faggot, and y'all kept attacking him; he'd have got tired of apologizing, and told all of us homos to go fuck ourselves.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 24, 2007 3:14:54 PM

  20. Y'all need the love of Jesus.

    Posted by: Brian | May 24, 2007 3:25:10 PM

  21. Contrary to many of the rabid anti Washington posts going on today, good for him, and good for GLAAD for making it happens. Some of those who are still angry, and some showing their own intolerance need to understand, there are many who share his opinion of gays, including the most powerful man in the world at 166 Pennsylvania Ave, so, one step at a time.

    And, Derrick, sadly I think you are right, had he called another black guy the slur, this hoopla would have never happened, no matter how some will say other wise. Loads of gay sites with message boards have spewed some pretty vile words about him, and none based on his comments, but, most on his race. And, this is yet another sad example of how when race is in the mix, the message gets lost, and that message should be intolerance on any level is just wrong, be it his homophobia or the racism that a few seem to feel they are entitled to when they have been "insulted."

    Posted by: Luke | May 24, 2007 4:01:17 PM

  22. $
    That's the reason the PSA didn't air during the finale. ABC could sell advertising space at a premium and didn't want to give up revenue to run a PSA.

    As far as forgiving Washington: he could have been, and was, forgiven by many for the initial altercation. It was his subsequent denial at the Golden Globes that sealed his fate. He flat out lied with a smile on his face. Why should we believe him now?

    Posted by: Gregg | May 24, 2007 4:27:13 PM

  23. Umm, excuse me Luke, but even the dimwit at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave isn't stupid enough to say it and then restate it on national television.

    Washington is in a delusional class of his own and Shondra and ABC are passive supports for not taking immediate action.

    Posted by: BeeDee | May 24, 2007 4:29:04 PM

  24. Buy a fucking clue. In the entertainment industry, a morals clause is unheard of. Akon dry-humped an underage girl, and even after Verizon pulled sponsorship of her tour, Gwen Stefani still kept him in the show. You think anything will happen to Alec Baldwin for cursing out his preteen daughter? Hasselhoff's unfit parentage caught on video? Unless these acts impede upon the running of any production they work for, there won't be the vengeance so hungered for here. The way David Russell treated Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees is a legendary example of someone deserving a pink slip. Meanwhile, a slur not even said TO T.R. Knight is supposed to kill Isaiah Washington's career?

    Posted by: 000000 | May 24, 2007 5:57:55 PM

  25. Why stop with race and gender? Why not list every freakin' minority in the world. What a f'ing joke! His nasty words pertained to homosexuals not anyone else and this spot should have been about what he said. He gets no points in my book. Go away jerk, go away.

    Posted by: Mike | May 24, 2007 6:03:13 PM

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