Isaiah Washington as Preston Burke
Posted 26 May 2006 - 07:51 PM
A native of Houston, Texas, Isaiah Washington spent four years in the Air Force before studying drama at Washington, DC's Howard University. While at Howard, he won a role in the play Spell #7 and then moved to New York to further pursue his career. There he appeared in a number of stage productions, including August Wilson's Fences and Thornton Wilder's Skin of Our Teeth. With a passion for theater, Washington became one of the founding members of City Kids Repertory, a theater group that visits high schools and community centers throughout New York.
Washington first made his mark in cinema in gritty crime dramas and romantic ensemble comedies. He has been featured in four acclaimed Spike Lee films: Crooklyn, Clockers, Girl 6, and Get on the Bus. Other feature credits include Exit Wounds, Romeo Must Die, True Crime, Bulworth, Out of Sight, Love Jones, Dead Presidents, Stonewall, Strictly Business and the acclaimed Dancing in September - a performance which earned him a nomination for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor.
More recently Washington was seen in Ghost Ship, Welcome to Collinwood and Hollywood Homicide. Upcoming films include Moguls and Dead Birds.
On television, he has guest-starred in several series, including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, Ally McBeal, New York Undercover, Living Single, Soul Food and Touched by an Angel.
Washington makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.
Posted 18 January 2007 - 07:29 PM
by Gina Serpe
Los Angeles (E! Online) - All was quiet on the Grey's Anatomy front. Then came Monday night's Golden Globes ceremony and, along with the award for Best TV Drama, the cast of ABC's biggest hit took home a whole new batch of controversy.
Trouble first started brewing in the press room, the ensemble's first stop after leaving the stage following the win, when E! Online columnist Ted Casablanca queried whether or not the gang had sufficiently moved past the on-set altercation last October, when Isaiah Washington was accused of calling costar T.R. Knight a homophobic slur and then getting in the face of would-be peace broker Patrick Dempsey.
After Casablanca posed the question, Washington stepped up to the microphone. "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot," Washington said. "Never happened."
When Casablanca asked whether then the entire Oct. 9 incident was concocted in the minds of tabloid editors, the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes took over, stating: "I think the best statement is just that things were created in a very odd way by the press that were not necessarily completely reported as true. I don't think any reporter made it up," she added, before changing the subject and saying, "We're just excited that we won the Golden Globe."
Dempsey and Knight, who were also in the press room during the interview, remained mum. (A video from the press room shows Dempsey and costar Eric Dane shifting uncomfortably during the exchange.)
But in the aftermath of the Globe lovefest, Washington's seemingly revisionist history was quickly called out. First up was Katherine Heigl.
In a post-ceremony interview with Access Hollywood, Heigl lashed out at Washington. "He needs to just not speak in public. Period. I'm sorry, that did not need to be said, I'm not okay with it...Drawing attention to it and saying the word again is just unnecessary. And I'm probably going to get in a lot of trouble for being that blunt."
The sentiment was echoed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In a statement Wednesday, the organization's president, Neil G. Giuliano, lashed out at Washington's backstage remarks. "When Isaiah Washington uses this kind of anti-gay slur—whether on set or in front of the press—it does more than create a hostile environment for his cast mates and the crew of Grey's Anatomy," Giuliano said. "It also feeds a climate of hatred and intolerance that contributes to putting our community in harm's way."
Heigl, meanwhile, made clear her loyalty on the matter, calling Knight her "best friend" and claiming she would "throw down for that kid...I will use every ounce of energy I have to take you down if you hurt his feelings." She may not get the chance this time—Knight seems to be fighting this battle himself.
In his first solo interview since the incident, Knight sat down with Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday and refuted Washington's denial. Knight also said Washington's utterance forced Knight to come out. "He referred to me as a faggot," Knight said, while disputing initial reports that the incident was sparked because Knight was tardy to work.
Knight said that he was on set but around a corner when Washington, speaking to Dempsey, made the remark. "Everyone heard it," Knight said before sarcastically adding, "it's an awesome word, isn't it?"
The actor went on to say that he was "under no delusions" that cast and crew might suspect he was gay, and that he was open about his sexuality to his friends on the show, but that it was not information that was in his nature to go public with—that is, not until the aftermath of the dustup got out of control. "It's not my thing to, like, call up People magazine and be like, 'Hey, you want to know something about me?'...I've never been called that to my face...I could've just let it slide and not said anything but it became important. "It became important to make the statement."
As for the statement recently made by Washington, Knight has no explanation. "He denied that he said it. I don't know what to say, really, about that," Knight told DeGeneres.
Washington himself has been giving mixed messages about the incident. While he now denies the slur was ever uttered, it didn't stop him from issuing an apology in October, condemning his "unfortunate use of words."
When the cast appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show the following month, Washington again alluded to the now disputed remark and admitted to some culpability, claiming he "lost [his] cool" but arguing that it—whatever "it" was—"wasn't coming out of a place of animus for Patrick or T.R."
By Monday night, however, Washington was back to denying any wrongdoing or lingering tension, saying he and Dempsey have even taken to singing "Ebony and Ivory" every night. Any planned duets with Knight, however, may have to wait a little longer.
Controversy grows over anti-gay remark
By SANDY COHEN, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES - The heated controversy at ABC's top show, "Grey's Anatomy," boiled over Thursday as the network rebuked co-star Isaiah Washington for an anti-gay comment and Washington issued a lengthy apology.
"We are greatly dismayed that Mr. Washington chose to use such inappropriate language at the Golden Globes, language that he himself deemed `unfortunate' in his previous public apology," the network said in a statement. "His actions are unacceptable and are being addressed," the statement conclude.
During a backstage interview Monday at the Globes gala, Washington denied involvement in a heated on-set incident in October during which an anti-gay remark was reportedly uttered. "No, I did not call (co-star) T.R. (Knight) a faggot," Washington told reporters. "Never happened, never happened." In his apology Thursday, Washington acknowledged "repeating the word Monday night."
"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. 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."
ABC said in its statement it has "a longstanding policy to maintain respectful workplaces" for its employees, adding that the network had "dealt with the original situation in October, and thought the issue resolved."
Thursday's events followed a critical statement Wednesday from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Neil Giuliano, GLAAD president, said he had contacted Washington's representatives in hopes of meeting the actor to discuss "the destructive impact of these kinds of anti-gay slurs."
"Washington's repeated use of it on-set and in the media is simply inexcusable," Giuliano said in the statement. Washington said on Thursday that he welcomes the chance to meet with gay and lesbian community leaders "to apologize in person and to talk about what I can do to heal the wounds I've opened."
"I know a mere apology will not end this, and I intend to let my future actions prove my sincerity," Washington said. Knight, who said soon after the October fracas that he is gay, appeared in Tuesday's taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to discuss the original incident and Washington's recent comments.
"He referred to me as a faggot," Knight said of the October incident. "Everyone heard it." "Grey's Anatomy," now in its third season, won the Golden Globe for best television drama. It regularly finishes atop or near the top of the Nielsen rankings.
Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:14 AM
Posted 16 February 2007 - 11:59 AM
Posted 17 February 2007 - 08:16 PM
Posted 08 June 2007 - 06:14 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Isaiah Washington, a star of TV hospital drama "Grey's Anatomy" who used an anti-gay slur against a fellow cast member, will not return for the show's fourth season, Entertainment Weekly magazine reported in its online edition on Friday.
ABC Studios has declined to renew the actor's option to play Dr. Preston Burke on the show, which won a Golden Globe this year for best television drama, according to the report.
Washington sparked controversy after a heated on-set argument last year in which he reportedly called actor T.R. Knight a "faggot."
Knight came out as gay in a public announcement shortly afterward and last week confirmed what Washington had said -- and initially denied.
The show airs on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC television network. An ABC spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
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