`Grey's' axes Isaiah Washington

Firing angers actor chided for use of slur

June 09, 2007|By Kate Aurthur | Kate Aurthur,LOS ANGELES TIMES

HOLLYWOOD -- After months of speculation about his fate, Isaiah Washington, the Grey's Anatomy co-star who publicly used a homophobic slur earlier this year, after the show had won a Golden Globe for best drama, will not be returning to the popular ABC series.

ABC News, the corporate sibling of ABC network and ABC Studios, the studio that produces Grey's, announced the news yesterday.

A spokeswoman from ABC Studios confirmed that the studio had not picked up his option.

In the ABC News story, Washington issued a statement through his publicist, Howard Bragman. "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore," it said.

Washington's future with Grey's was first called into question when reports leaked out in the fall of an on-set altercation with co-star Patrick Dempsey, during which he reportedly used a gay slur in reference to fellow cast member T.R. Knight.

A few months later, in front of reporters backstage at the Golden Globes, Washington denied the incident but repeated the word in the process, causing another uproar.

Gay-rights groups and cast member Katherine Heigl, who publicly denounced Washington, were among his most vocal critics.

"This is something that will have changed the scope of his life," Heigl told Entertainment Weekly last month. Washington was "sorry and embarrassed" for the mistake, she said.

Washington tried to make amends and said he was seeking therapy.

He also met with officials from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and filmed a public-service announcement in which he said "words have power" to hurt or heal.

The May finale of Grey's Anatomy opened the door for the departure of his character, Dr. Preston Burke. Burke was on the verge of marrying Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), but her doubts at first delayed and then derailed their splashy wedding.

Later, Yang found that Burke cleared out his favorite possessions from their apartment.

Kate Aurthur writes for the Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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