Isaiah Washington Apologizes, Admits Conduct Unacceptable, Will Seek Help

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Under fire by both ABC and gay leaders, Isaiah Washington has apologized for what he called his "unacceptable in any context" comments about gay co-star T.R. Knight at Golden Globe Awards Monday night.

"I can neither defend nor explain my behavior," Washington said in a statement, according to People. "I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I've asked for help."

Isaiah Washington Apologizes, Admits Conduct Unacceptable, Will Seek Help
Apologizing to "T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community," Isaiah Washington said he "marred what should have been a perfect night" for Grey's Anatomy and hurt both Knight and "everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted.

"T.R.'s courage throughout this entire episode speaks to his tremendous character. I hold his talent, and T.R. as a person, in high esteem. I know a mere apology will not end this, and I intend to let my future actions prove my sincerity," Washington said.

Washington, who plays Dr. Preston Burke on the hit ABC show, denied in the pressroom at the Golden Globes on Monday that he ever used a gay slur in reference to Knight.

"No, I did not call T.R. a faggot," said Washington. "Never happened, never happened."

But during an appearance Wednesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Knight said that Washington did use the word during an on-set argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey in October.

"He referred to me as a faggot," he told DeGeneres. "Everyone heard it."

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said Thursday night that Washington "has scheduled a meeting with us for early next week, and we look forward to exploring opportunities for moving forward and healing some of the wounds of the past four months."

Earlier GLAAD had demanded that Washington apologize for his actions. Some fans have also circulated a petition online to have the actor fired.

ABC has responded by saying that Washington's remarks at the Golden Globe Awards were unacceptable and are being addressed.

"We have a long standing policy to create and maintain respectful workplaces for all our employees," the network said in a statement.

"We dealt with the original situation in October, and thought the issue resolved. Therefore, we are greatly dismayed that Mr. Washington chose to use such inappropriate language at the Golden Globes, language that he himself deemed 'unfortunate' in his previous public apology. We take this situation very seriously. His actions are unacceptable and are being addressed."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Just a slight correction, Isaiah graduated from Howard University in Washington DC, not Harvard. I so agree with you, Kitty. I hope Shonda and everyone else associated with GA are able to settle the bad feelings and hurt that this entire incident has caused for many people including both Isaiah and TR. You and I will have to agree to disagree about the motives of both Isaiah and TR in this situation, Kitty. Really, the only one who had anything to gain from all of this is actually the media hounds who would not let it die the first time and brought it up yet again after the GGs.


Hello Kitty, I hear what you are saying, but Isaiah didn't bring it up. Ted from Eonline did. At their moment of celebration the first question he asked was about Isaiah's homophobic slur. Isaiah was trying to clarify that he did not call TR the slur. He was not calling him a name in that situation, but rather trying to end the constant questioning about it.


Hi Fran, I think he is very sorry for marring what should have been a happy occasion by responding to the reporter. I also think he is very sorry that anyone thinks he intentionally set out to hurt TR Knight. Nothing that I have said is inconsistent with Isaiah's apology.


T.R. was a complete...COMPLETE (I say) gentleman. You can never tell a person's character until they are made to respond to something. He proved to me that he's got class. The comment in question was discussed and it was decided by T.R. that it was nothing to get worked up over. Yes, it was painful, and as an "educated" man, I find it hard to believe that IW could've even thought about the word without associating pain with it.
It's a DERROGATORY word. With education, knowledge is supposed to ensue. With knowledge, comes compassion and understanding. With compassion and understanding, comes patience and tolerance. Unless IW is from another planet, he is, by right, a poor representative for Harvard. I'm sorry, I like the guy, but I despise his action, and I am ashamed of him for denying his fault and
later trying to gain acceptance by "dramatically" apologizing, only after the ABC head officers get involved. Had the shoe been on the other foot; all hell would still be breaking loose. Everybody from Al Sharpton to Rosa Parks' grandchildren would be shaken by such bitterness and disrespect.
Television has created a great deal of entertainment, but it has also caused a great deal of discomfort among those of us who are trying to preserve the humanity between men. There are plenty of things in this country for us to be "rattled" about; but this is just proof that even a seemingly small comment can make ripples in an already-disturbed pond. To Shonda, I hope this can be resolved and things can get back to normal. It does mean alot to some of us that language has truly gone too far.


Thank you "Burke Backer". In light of your response, allow me to clear up something.
Whether or not the intention was negative, has no bearing on the fact that it caused a social disruption. As mild as it may seem to some, it is important to others who says what, and why they say it. The art of free speech, like anything else, has its loopholes. IW found it necessary to use that right and say something that would later be seen as inappropriate. We are granted free speech with the hope that we as adults will understand that everything, including words, have their place in society. Regardless of his motive, regardless of his mindset at the time of the incident, the comment was said not only once, but twice; in two different settings and seasons, by the same person. It's not so bad that he uttered this tasteless and ignorant word, but the fact that it had "supposedly" been quashed and then it was repeated some 4 months later is really what created the hooplah. If it matters to you the intent of a person's actions, remember that the next time you hear about someone having a car accident and fleeing the scene. They probably didn't mean to run into someone, but if they run and cower, then it's obvious they had no "intent" on owning to it, either. Think about it. IW said it, then he apologized. He brought it up again. Not T.R., nor anyone else from the show mentioned that word again. IW brought it up at a photo shoot that should have been for the celebration of the show's success. Nobody asked him anything....HE SAID IT AGAIN ON HIS OWN!! If he's that hungry for attention, he's in the right business, but he needs to exercise a little class.
Thank you and good nite.


I wonder if BB is a close personal friend of IW, or how she can read his mind.
It seems to me she thinks she knows what his intent was, when he himself says he can't explain it.
Others react to what they saw on Golden Globes night. If IW himself can admit in a statement that he marred what should have been a great evening for the cast, why can't she? If he says he regrets what he did, why does BB keep saying it was unintentional, and so on and so forth...


I do respect the people on this website and their opnions even when I don't agree with them. Some people, however, post inaccurate information about what happened and make absolutely hateful comments about Isaiah Washington based on information that is at best only partially known. It is clear that Isaiah and TR have a different version of what happened back in October. It would be great if they could work out between themselves what actually happened and why and get past it. Isaiah should not have used the term he used whether to someone else or to TR. If TR was offended by the use of the word it might have been better to discuss it with Isaiah and get it worked out rather than having a press conference to talk about being gay and talking about it again on a talk show. Neither man has acted in the best interest of the show and the fans, and in my opinion Katherine Heigl does not help by taking sides. These are both her castmates. She told Ellen initially that she wasn't on the set. It is sad all the way around and I hope they come to terms with it and move on so that we can, too. Milly, I do think there is a difference. I don't think Isaiah would have used that word to TRs face, because I don't think he is a hateful man who would have set out to hurt TR. He should not have used the word at all, I agree with you. But, yes, I do think there is a difference because the hurt was unintentional and not directed at TR.


well, i didn't format that message well, but you get the point. here is the one with girls and george


"Is the difference between "calling" someone that word and "referring" to someone as that word significant? Whether or not he said to his face or behind his back does not change anything" I completely agree with you. Whether he said it to his face or behind his back is irrelevant because he still said it and it was still refering to T.R. On top of the fact that he was fighting with another castmate. I don't understand why another castmate has to be brought into a fight that doesn't involve him. And I go back to my comment about the n-word. Both are deeming words and to certain types of people both are offensive. I'm sure that IW as at least once in his life been called the n-word and I'm sure that he didn't like it. So why would he call T.R. the f-word? Obviously, T.R. isn't going to like being called that either. I also don't understand why this had to be brought up again months later. I'm sure the situation hadn't calmed on set but it had calmed in the media and by IW taking the mic and talking about it again it's brought it all into the lime light. I will continue to watch Grey's whether IW is fired or not. I love the show and since he isn't the reason I watch I could really careless whether he is there or not. I don't necessarly think he should be fired but I do think that something should be done rather than just a public apology. They've basically given him a slap on the wrist and said, "don't do it again." That's not right! That pretty much portrays to the fans of the show and the people that know about this fight that it is okay to call someone an offensive name when it's not. My point with the n-word argument was that people would be making a bigger deal had IW been called the n-word than they are now. Somebody would've definately been punished for it in some way. After all the creator of Grey's made a bigger deal when this first happened and people suggested firing IW and replacing him with another black actor. She said something along the lines that she was appalled that viewers would think that it's perfectly normal to replace one black actor with another. And I agree with Kitty6464, T.R. has been the bigger man in all this because in this day an age you could sue for defamation of character and he hasn't. The most he's done is gone on Ellen DeGeneres to talk about it. Well IW talked about it on Opera so isn't that about the same thing. Both went to go talk about it on the show they felt the most comfortable on.


"I RESPECT YOUR COMMENTS, DO EVERYONE A FAVOR AND RESPECT THIERS POSTED HERE ALSO" Exactly. No one here should feel ashamed of themselves for having an opinion (good for you for having one!). It is about IW and the controversy, not about the commentators.


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You almost died like men.


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