An actor who caused a storm by using the word ‘faggot’ during an on-set argument has made a public service announcement on behalf of two gay rights organisations.
Isaiah Washington, star of medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, recorded the message for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network.
It was broadcast during a commercial break in the show on US television last night.
He referred to co-star TR Knight as a faggot during an on-set confrontation last October, but at the Golden Globes in January he denied the incident had occurred.
After the ceremony, where the show won best drama, he said to journalists, “No, I did not call TR a faggot. Never happened, never happened.”
GLAAD then demanded that Washington apologise for using the word again when denying he used it in the first place.
The actor then signalled his desire to put the controversy behind him by co-operating with GLAAD and GLSEN.
In last night’s announcement Washington said:
“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.”
Founder and executive director of GLSEN Kevin Jennings welcomed the PSA.
“As an education organisation, GLSEN believes in the power of the teachable moment,” he said.
“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.”
TR Knight came out of the closet to People Magazine, after reports of the on-set argument.
“There have been a few questions about my sexuality, and I’d like to quiet any unnecessary rumours that may be out there. While I prefer to keep my personal life private, I hope the fact that I’m gay isn’t the most interesting part of me,” he said