At the time, of course. Who wouldn’t? I was just trying to tell the truth, but it was incredibly hard to try and stand up for myself and for my team to get the record straight. At the time, I was the largest African-American in the public eye. I was on the most successful show in America at the time. It wasn’t hard to latch the story on me and have it go viral around the world. What was hard was that the story was never accurate. It wasn’t right. Some people used the platform to spread their own agenda. Those people didn’t get what they wanted in the end. Perez Hilton said the F-word to Will.I.Am and got hit in the face. He then went beyond the call of duty to apologize to me [for his condemnation]…
When [the incident] happened, I was single-handedly desegregating the NOH8 campaign because I told them directly, “you’re making the gay issue and civil liberties and civil rights like it’s a white issue. You need to Blacken it up.” I was the first Black celebrity to take a photo with the NOH8 tattoo on my face, but no one cared because Michael Jackson died, and because they wanted to hurt someone…
There’s no record of using the F-word or anything negative about me in the news for the last six years. I didn’t turn out to be this homophobic train wreck or whatever the agenda was at the time to make me. I am pretty much the same person for trying to get this thing called humanity at the forefront, you know? We have to be healing ourselves. So that’s pretty much what I have to say on that.”
— Isaiah Washington speaking with BET’s out reporter Clay Cane about whether he felt villified and the fallout from insulting Grey’s Anatomy costar T.R. Knight with a homophobic slur
But the part that nobody disputes is that he attacked and was chocking Dempsey while he was using that word. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that if anybody of us physically attacked a co-worker we would be fired.
Maybe he can and Paula Deen can have lunch together and hash out their comeback strategies.
He wasn’t fired until he brought up the whole thing – including using the slur again – at the Golden Globes. While being interviewed on the red carpet prior to the awards, Washington joked, “I love gay. I wanted to be gay. Please let me be gay.” After the show won its category, he denied the initial use of the slur even happened. TR Knight went on Ellen and said he was a liar, as did Katherine Heigl.
ABC washed their hands of him.
He made his own bed.
As for his claim of “largest African-American in the public eye” – he was part of an ensemble win for ‘Best Drama’ on the Golden Globes, which was shared by African Americans James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson. Other notable African Americans that night:
Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland (Winner, Best Actor – Drama)
Will Smith – The Pursuit of Happyness (Nominee, Best Actor – Drama)
Beyoncé Knowles – Dreamgirls (Nominee, Best Actress – Musical/Comedy)
Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls (Winner, Best Supporting Actor – Musical/Comedy)
Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls (Winner, Best Supporting Actress – Musical/Comedy)
Andre Braugher – Thief (Nominee, Best Actor Mini-Series/TV Movie)
Michael Ealy – Sleeper Cell (Nominee, Best Actor Mini-Series/TV Movie)
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Tsunami: The Aftermath (Winner, Best Actor Mini-Series/TV Movie)
And about a month later:
Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland (Oscar Winner, Best Actor)
Will Smith – The Pursuit of Happyness (Oscar Nominated, Best Actor)
Djimon Hounsou – Blood Diamond (Oscar Nominated, Best Supporting Actor)
Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls (Oscar Nominated, Best Supporting Actor)
Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls (Oscar Winner, Best Supporting Actress)
The lesson he still hasn’t learned is when he should just shut up.
Worked with Isaiah years ago, long before he was famous. I don’t think he is homophobic. Just foolish with anger issues. He lashes out and cannot think clearly and will say anything to injure the person he’s projecting his anger towards. His anger is often unfounded also. He has a bit of a persecution complex, I think, which spins him into anger. He will explode and you’re sitting there wondering what in the hell happened and then moments later he’s back to being friendly. I hope he’s gotten some help for this since the Grey’s incident but he needs to accept responsibility and not state it’s some agenda. He is a wonderful actor and you may remember he was in “Get on the Bus” playing a gay man travelling to the Million Man March with his lover. I actually thought Katherine Heigl helped to inflame the situation on the red carpet and she seems to be getting a bit of karma herself based on an article I read today. It would be great if he read some of these remarks. I don’t think it’s any secret about the death of his father and I thought I heard that he found out about the death of his father on the evening news. I can’t imagine what that would be like. I hope he gets some serious counseling. He was a real jerk to me but I actually wish him well and I hope he gets his career back on track because he is a good actor and not a bad person just a damaged one.
Crazy eyes. Go get a job.
Wow! “I was the largest African-American in the public eye”. I’m sure there are plenty of African-Americans who would have a different opinion. Someone is a little full of himself. And darling, what have you done lately?
@SeekingTruth: Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Mr. Washington. I still see him as a gigantic creep, but your remarks humanize him somewhat.
@SeekingTruth: The only issue I have with your comments is the notion that Katherine Heigl inflamed the situation on the red carpet. What he said is caught on tape… no one put a gun to his head to make him say it. Should she have let it go? No. There are more repercussions today than there were in 2006/7 – mostly because people like her said its wrong and didn’t back down when people said ‘stop making such a big deal out of nothing’. She also called him out on it when he continued to deny it, after multiple members of the cast had already confirmed it. I personally admire her for that more than I do for anything she has done professionally.
Not to mention that she has never publicly complained that her charitable contributions were being ignored because Michael Jackson had the nerve to die.
Caleb in SC
@redspyder: Exactly! He is not only homophobic, but has an ego the size of the sun.
He lost me as soon as he opened his bigoted mouth.
“At the time, I was the largest African-American in the public eye. I was on the most successful show in America at the time.”
What does one have to do with the other? Sounds like Washington is still confused over more than his homophobia. Some people will make excuses for the rest of their life when caught doing or saying something so wrong. Mr. Washington seems to fall into that caategory.
Largest African-American in the public eye? Maybe he meant in his own head. You know… a legend in his own mind. Certainly he was an important cast member in the very popular show but it was an ensemble cast and he was no larger than any other member of the show. In fact, I found him to be second-rate to the acting skills of Chanrda Wilson, a true and humble star who is still in the cast.
Get over it Mr. Washington. You blew it. You blew your whole career which could have been huge had you been able to control your temper and your mouth. This is the 21st century. Your words follow you the rest of your life and there are some things that are unforgivable.
Oh, that one. Never watched it.
“I was the first Black celebrity to take a photo with the NOH8 tattoo on my face, but no one cared because Michael Jackson died”
that is one of the best narcissistic passive-aggressive comments I’ve ever read
“I was the largest African-American in the public eye.”
So now we know he’s not just a homophobic asshole, he’s a delusional homophobic asshole. Homeboy, your 15 minutes has expired.
A bully with selective memory. What a cliche. It is hard to learn what you did wrong if you find it impossible to see that you were at fault. Have you lived the fear of the victim, have you felt his pain because of your your fury, and have you thought of apologizing for your anger. Seems to me that you took one giant step sideways to avoid to see that you were the one to cause this outcome. Maybe this is therapy for you to speak your mind and let the world know how you feel. However, I hope you will take the time to see that you are not the victim, you have a problem (an anger problem), you have cause pain to someone who did nothing to you, you have some kind of irrational fear of gay people and you still insist to walk around with blinders on. Maybe your environment lead you to believe what you did is the manly thing, the macho thing, but it was not. It was a cowardly act, so stand up and say you are sorry and that you need help and will get help and will make amends for the actions and situations you have created. Otherwise who cares.
He really has not managed any of this correctly. Paying the victim card is not the right strategy. He is not getting work because of this…he is not getting work because he isn’t very talented.
“I was the largest African-American in the public eye.”
I had never heard of him before that incident nor have a heard much about him since. He isn’t a star, he’s a supporting actor. As Kieran mentions, he has had his 15 minutes. Now, go away.
Go away, Isaiah, and take fellow homophobe Alec Baldwin with you (oh, wait, Baldwin doesn’t count because MSNBC now loves him. Sorry about that, Alec).
He’s selling a book right? I get it. Everyone will want to read about how he was the victim, especially on BET and HuffPost. Trying to give history a makeover is what’s going on.
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