Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington has said that if he could do a repeat performance of the heated argument with former so-star Patrick Dempsey, he would have opted for the “n-word.”
Instead Washington used the word ‘faggot’ a choice that eventually led to him being dropped from the show.
He claims that he was in fact referring to himself when he used the homophobic slur during the argument with Dempsey and not their co-star, T.R. Knight.
Washington was aggravated by Dempsey’s turning up late on the set.
He told Larry King:
“(Dempsey) became unhinged, face to face, spittle in my face. I’m asking him ‘why are you screaming at me?’ He became irate.
“By that time I pushed him out of my face and I began to say ‘there’s no way you’re going treat me like a ‘b word,’ a ‘p word,’ or a ‘f word’ in front of this crew.”
Asked by King to explain what three words he meant, Washington said “a four-legged dog” (most likely he meant to say “female” dog); a “punk”; and the anti-gay slur beginning with “f” which he said he used to mean “someone who is being weak, someone who is not treated with respect” rather than a homosexual.
Washington now claims using the n-word would have saved him. “I wish I had said ‘You’re not going to treat me like an ‘n-word’ because that’s how I felt,” he said.
T.R. Knight told Ellen Degeneres on her show that Washington was targeting him with the homophobic slur.
The controversy cooled for a period, until Washington rocked the boat by saying to a tabloid reporter at the Globe Awards:
“I never called T.R. Knight a ‘faggot.’
“I unbelievably regret that,” he said.
“If I could take that moment back. (The story) wasn’t true and unfortunately I did what you don’t do, and that’s go to IMDB or blogs and read what they’re saying about you. I felt that my integrity was being challenged.”
Washington knew he stepped over the line after his comments at the Globes Awards that caused mayhem, with protests from GLAAD and other gay watchdog groups.
Although Washington claimed that he tried to resign from Grey’s Anatomy, his contract was not renewed and producers on the ABC show demanded that he get counselling and issue a public announcement.
Washington said of his experience:
“Focus on your acting. Don’t worry about production issues, and in times of great stress and duress just keep your mouth shut.”