Isaiah Washington doesn’t regret lashing out at “Grey’s Anatomy” co-star Patrick Dempsey - he just wishes he would’ve chosen a different word to express his frustrations.
In his first TV interview since his dismissal from the show, Washington defended his actions during an appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Monday night, blaming co-star Patrick Dempsey’s repeated tardiness to the set for the blowup that eventually ended with Washington using a homophobic slur.
However, the former Dr. Preston Burke claims he was referring to himself, not co-star T.R. Knight, when he made an anti-gay remark.
”[Dempsey] became unhinged, face-to-face, spittle to 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 our crew,” Washington told Larry King. “I wish I had said ‘You’re not going to treat me like an ‘n-word’ because that’s how I felt.”
Washington said 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 Knight, who has since openly admitted he is gay.
“I am not homophobic - in no way, shape or form,” Washington insisted.
However, Washington also said that Knight put the attention on himself in an effort to advance his career, knowing that the remark was never meant towards him.
“He misrepresented himself,” Washington contended. “He has been very disappointed in playing the character he has been playing. He told me that.”
Yet when it comes to his outburst backstage at the Golden Globes, where Washington grabbed the mic during a post-awards interview and insisted he “never called T.R. Knight a f****t,” the African-American actor expressed remorse over his choice of words.
“I unbelievably regret that,” he said about the comment. “If I could take that moment back. (The story) wasn’t true… I felt that my integrity was being challenged.”
Through it all, Washington said he was able to take a very valuable lesson away from his experience during the firestorm.
“Focus on your acting. Don’t worry about production issues and in times of great stress and duress just keep your mouth shut,” he said.
According to King, ABC and a rep for Dempsey declined to comment about Washington’s interview and a representative for T.R. Knight said no comment.