Shonda Rhimes Has Spoken: Isaiah Washington Will Keep His Job
JANUARY 24, 2007: The creator of "Grey's Anatomy" has broken her silence - actor Isaiah Washington will not be fired for his second outburst of homophobia as he has agreed to do "whatever it takes" to keep his job.
Following days of mounting pressure, Shonda Rhimes released the following statement:
"I speak for all the executive producers here at Grey's Anatomy when I say that Isaiah Washington's use of such a disturbing word was a shocking and dismaying event that insulted not only gays and lesbians everywhere but anyone who has ever struggled for respect in a world that is not always accepting of difference.
We’ve been working within the Grey’s family as well as with ABC and Touchstone Television to address the issue in a way that underscores the gravity of the situation while giving us all a foundation for healing. We applaud and encourage Isaiah's realization that he needs help and his subsequent choice to seek immediate treatment for his behavioral issues.
We appreciate the support the fans have always given our show, particularly during this stressful time. Creatively, we continue to strive to make the best television we can with the hope that our show reflects the talent, hard work and professionalism of our cast and crew."
This morning, Isaiah Washington also released a statement:
"With the support of my family and friends, I have begun counseling. I regard this as a necessary step toward understanding why I did what I did and making sure it never happens again. I appreciate the fact that I have been given this opportunity and I remain committed to transforming my negative actions into positive results, personally and professionally."
It is very discouraging that at this day and age bigots like Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and Isaiah Washington are allowed to utter a heinous slur and get away with it.
Their language and behavior is vile and ethically unacceptable, regardless of whether or not they were intoxicated at the time when they uttered their respective slur.
For this reason, hiring a razzle-dazzle damage control publicist, releasing several meaningless statements and pulling off the oldest and the most cliched and wretched of all Hollywood stunts that is "seeking help at a rehab facility", before going back to work as if nothing had happened, can not and will not alleviate the repulsive impact of their appalling behavior.
An inside source on the set of "Grey's Anatomy" had revealed to US Magazine following the original incident with Isaiah Washington in October that Shonda Rhimes is very good friends with the actor and that "she would never fire him" ("War on the Set", US Weekly, October 2006).
If this is true, than Shonda Rhimes is a hypocrite who on one hand prides herself on the high quality of a television series that promotes diversity, and yet accepts double standards disrespectful to the gay and lesbian community.
I can only hope the old "three strikes and out" rule will apply if the actor, who has had a history of anger management issues, resorts to his shameful ways once again. Otherwise I will have to apply the rule to the medical series itself.