Isaiah Washington Explains Behavior in Lengthy Interview With Larry King

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Trying to Clear His Name
Isaiah Washington blamed co-star Patrick Dempsey's repeated tardiness to the Grey's Anatomy set for the infamous blow-up which resulted in Washington using a homophobic slur.

Interviewed last night on Larry King Live, Washington said he regretted that he did not confront Dempsey the first time he was late to the set, so he challenged him when the actor was late again.

But Dempsey wanted to delay the scene more to wait for Grey's star Ellen Pompeo, who plays Dempsey's love interest, before shooting began.

"I said I don't need Ellen, I can act," Washington told Larry King. "And that was the moment that sent it into a different zone."

According to Washington, Patrick Dempsey erupted.

"He became unhinged, sprayed spittle in my face," said Washington, in his first TV interview about the controversy. "I'm asking him why is he screaming at me... He just becomes irate."

That's when Washington said "a lot of things I'm not really proud of."

"I said several bad words," he recalled, quoting himself as telling Dempsey: "There's no way you're going to treat me like the B-word, the P-word or the F-word."

He said that the "F-word" was not meant as an anti-gay slur, but implied "somebody who is being weak."

Washington also strongly denied he ever directed the word at gay costar T.R. Knight, as frequently reported and insinuated by the press.

"I am not homophobic, in no way, shape or form," said Washington.

As for T.R. Knight claiming the slur was directed at him, Isaiah Washington said that is patently false.

"That's a lie. He misrepresented himself," Washington said, suggesting that Knight did that to advance his career and get more money.

"He has been very disappointed in playing the character he has been playing. He told me that," Isaiah added.

But Washington said he felt badly about repeating the slur backstage at the Golden Globe Awards, when he attempted to explain the context in which he used it in the first place.

"I wish I could take that back," Isaiah Washington said.

He became emotional at one point in the interview.

When King asked if any cast members had written him, Washington paused and appeared close to tears when recalling that Sandra Oh had.

Washington attended counseling and finished Season 3 of Grey's Anatomy after the incident, but was released from the hit ABC series a month ago as Preston Burke was written out of the show.

Larry King said on the air that the Grey's Anatomy producers, Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight all declined to comment.

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


I haven't seen Larry King so I can only go by what has been written but from what I can gather Isaiah, although taking some responsibility, is clearly trying to blame everyone else â€" Patrick Dempsey being the latest victim. There is very much a sense of "Patrick Dempsey made me say the f-word". It's childish. No-one makes you say anything. He had a disagreement with Patrick and he said many things including the f-word. No-one held a gun to his head and said "say this .. say that". Isaiah CHOSE to say those things. You know, for a little while I was actually starting to feel a little bit sorry for Isaiah. Not anymore.


way to go IW! no matter what other people say... you held your own! He made it so clear about what happened. He took full responsibility for his actions and didn't try to get around the facts. He was clear and declaritive and I am proud of him... but I am dissapointed in what he did... he SHouLD be forgiven... and for crying out loud.. if that wasn't enough what WILL bring IW back?!


Sad that the senses of sight and hearing fall victims to animosity and unforgiveness. Sad because we fail to see or hear the words of others, no matter how repentant or repetitive. Sad because we cannot see or hear our own hatred nor taste the venom we spew. Sad because we deprive our humanity the chance to rise above pettiness and meanness.


The Washington interview was done wonderfully. He was calm, rational and very well spoken. It cleared up a lot of confusion and all of it made sense. Washington wasn't blaming Dempsey, he was explaining the situation and repeatedly kept saying how it was his fault and he should have set a better example. Dang....what else do you want from him? He is getting massacred for something he didn't do in the context everyone thinks he did and went above and beyond the call of duty for redemption. I loved how he said whoever went to the Inquirer he hopes they got paid...because best believe, you know they did! I love Sandra Oh even more after Washington's tearful remarks on her email.


I just finished watching the interview, and I feel for Isaiah Washington. I've heard his side of the story, but I don't think any of us will ever completely hear the other side of the story (unless another actor is fired and is able to speak freely).
So, I feel for him, we've all said things that we wished we could take back. In our lives, at least we're able to go to the person we've offended and apologize. When you're in the public spotlight, it gets all blown out of proportion by the media.
Isaiah Washington repeatedly said that it was wrong of him to use the word (and especially at the Golden Globes) and he "took ownership" of what he did. So, Flynt, I'd have to disagree...he is taking responsibility for saying the word, but not for the anti-gay meaning behind it, because he says he said it in a different context. So, whether or not that's what *really* happened, we probably won't ever know. Now, also, IW made some pretty strong allegations against TR Knight, that alot of the hub bub was manipulated by him. *Somebody* called the National Enquirer, and TR goes on "Ellen" and issues statements coming out of the closet, when apparently he didn't have to. (if IW's side is to be believed). He's coming off as a very sympathetic character in this.


And I completely agree with you, Flynt!


In my opinion, that sounds a little more believable... but if he didn't direct the slur at TR in the first place then why did he do so much to make it seem like he *did* and then go into all this rehab crap for it? I know my wording isn't coming out right but if he had just told this story - this *exact* story - from the beginning, i would have believed it. But now, he's changed it so many times that i just can't trust that what he's telling us may or may not be crap.


Okay what I am going to say is not to mean I won't miss Burke, cause I will. But SERIOUSLY! Can Issah PLEASE take SOME responsiblity in this. He screwed up yes, should he have been fired? I don't know I don't work for ABC, but now in the face of it, he has blamed everyone but himself. He has blamed ABC, the fact he is black, and NOW Patrick Dempsy and TR Knight. Seriously??? Be a man, admit you were wrong, you screwed up, you got fired. DEAL with it!


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.


Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)