ABC Condemns Homophobic Incident; Washington Apologizes
JANUARY 19, 2007: Yesterday afternoon the ABC television network released its first official statement regarding the homophobic outburst of Isaiah Washington at the Golden Globes on Monday saying they are "greatly dismayed" by the incident. Three hours later the actor issued a statement apologizing for the slur. Will the network finally fire Isaiah Washington?
Following Wednesday's statement of the media watchdog group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation demanding that Isaiah Washington publicly apologize for the use of the word "f****t" on Monday night in the Golden Globes press room, Disney's ABC television network which broadcasts the medical series "Grey's Anatomy" issued the following statement at about 4pm on Thursday:
"We have a long-standing policy to create and maintain respectful workplaces for all our employees. 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, that he himself deemed 'unfortunate' in his previous public apology. We take this situation very seriously, and his actions are unacceptable and are being addressed."
Three hours later, actor Isaiah Washington issued the following apology:
"I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. By repeating the word Monday night, I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on "Grey's Anatomy". I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. 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.
I know the power of words, especially those that demean. I realize that by using one filled with disrespect I have hurt more than T.R. and my colleagues. With one word, I've hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted. I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologize in person and to talk about what I can do to heal the wounds I’ve opened.
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."
Once again, the carefully worded statement has initiated yet another damage control attempt on the part of Isaiah Washington's agent and publicist. But it may be too little too late.
TV Guide reports that a close source on the set of "Grey's Anatomy" says that beside giving Washington "the reprimand of his life", ABC is considering a more permanent solution to the problem - terminating Washington's employment.
According to the source, Washington's problems extend far beyond his affinity for a certain derogatory f-word. In fact, his behavior has been so "inappropriate and offensive" for so long that producers have often been forced to intervene.
Now the network may finally make it clear that homophobia and any other blatant disregard for fellow cast-mates dignity will no longer be tolerated on the set of a prominent and critically-acclaimed series of "Grey's Anatomy" caliber.