Fire `Anatomy' star, some say

January 20, 2007|By Martin Miller | Martin Miller,Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- Despite a recent apology from Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington for making homophobic slurs, pressure continues to build upon ABC and the top-rated show's creator, Shonda Rhimes, to oust Washington from the ensemble cast.

Even in the wake of a lengthy mea culpa issued Thursday by Washington's publicist, television critics and some gay media Web sites were calling upon the network to fire the actor for using the word "faggot" in reference to co-star T.R. Knight, most recently at Monday's Golden Globe Awards.

"Thanks for the apology, Isaiah (still waiting for yours ABC and Ms. Rhimes), but it's too little, too late," wrote Michael Jensen for Afterelton.com, a gay media site. "As for ABC, what are these people thinking? Why haven't they fired this joker as of yesterday?"

Meanwhile, a television writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also criticized Rhimes for not taking a firmer hand with Washington.

"Perhaps most disappointing in all this is that Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes, who is to be lauded for the diversity of the show's cast, has never really addressed the use of the epithet head-on," wrote Rob Owen on his newspaper television blog.

Although there were rumors yesterday that ABC would issue a statement about Washington's fate, an ABC spokeswoman said that was untrue.

On Thursday, ABC issued a sternly worded statement declaring its "great dismay" over Washington's "inappropriate language" and adding that the actor's "actions are unacceptable and are being addressed."

Hours later, Washington released a rambling apology, one reminiscent of actor Mel Gibson's following his anti-Semitic tirade.

"I can neither defend nor explain my behavior," Washington said. "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.

"With one word, I've hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted," continued the statement. "I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologize in person."

Those words were welcomed by Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), who had demanded an apology from Washington for his remarks at the Golden Globes. Giuliano said he planned to meet with Washington early next week.

Martin Miller writes for the Los Angeles Times. Times staff writers Maria Elena Fernandez and Greg Braxton contributed to this article.

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