The controversy started for Washington when he used an anti-gay slur on the set of “Grey’s” in October (and again at The Golden Globe awards this past January). The use of the slur was in reference to Washington’s co-star, T.R. Knight, who came out as openly gay soon afterward.
After being criticized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the ABC network, Washington issued an apology and sought counseling over the incident. He also starred in an ABC-televised PSA on intolerance after meeting with gay rights leaders.
When asked by EW.com if the decision to let him go was happy news for “Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes, Washington inferred that she did what she had to do.
“I knew she was aware of the decision,” he said. “But you have to understand that she’s at the helm of one of the top-rated scripted shows on television…she called me on Thursday of last week [June 7] and told me that I would not be returning to the show. Just like she personally called me and invited me to the show. It was full circle.”
And has Isaiah spoken to any of his castmates about the news? “Everyone is still on vacation,” he revealed. “I don’t expect to hear from my castmates. I did talk to Chandra Wilson and I got a text message from Kate Walsh…I’m still getting calls from people discovering that this change has occurred.”
When Access‘ Billy Bush spoke with Kate Walsh in April, she had nothing but good things to say about Isaiah. “I think he’s amazing,” she said. “I think he is like the glue to the show, so I don’t know. I think he is incredible.”
Another “Grey’s” star wasn’t so appreciative of Washington when she spoke with Access. Katherine Heigl, who has called T.R. Knight her “best friend,” sounded off on Isaiah’s remark at the Golden Globes in January. “I’m going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period. Im sorry, that did not need to be said, Im not okay with it,” Katherine said.
Heigl has since relented a bit, telling EW in June that Isaiah had apologized to her. “He made a big mistake, and it was thoughtless and boneheaded, and I think he’s very sorry and embarrassed,” she remarked. “This is something that will have changed the scope of his life.”
And while he’s currently working on an independent film (”The Least of These”), Washington told EW.com that his life has indeed changed — and he can only roll with the punches.
“I can only take one day at a time,” said Isaiah. “I can only apologize so many times. I can only accept so much responsibility. All the players involved have taken care of what we needed to take care of in-house and the media took it in a different direction. I hope that everyone is happy for the outcome for Isaiah, but Isaiah will go on and do what I love to do.”
As for the possibility of mending fences with Knight, Isaiah simply said, “I don’t know. You have to ask T.R. that.”