Isaiah Washington‘s not out of the woods yet. The New York Times reports that ABC and its parent company, Disney, are considering firing the Grey’s Anatomy star after all.
Washington’s in double trouble because he allegedly called co-star T.R. Knight a “faggot” during a fight on the set in September, then repeated the word last week after the Golden Globes, when he publicly denied calling Knight the name in the first place.
Knight, who hadn’t made his sexuality known to anyone beyond family, friends and tviewers with Gaydar, “came out to People Magazine” after Washington’s first slur. After Washington’s denial, Knight ran to Ellen DeGeneres‘ show to call him a liar. (In light of today’s news, we hear T.R. will soon be recording a duet with George Michael.) Washington may have thought he’d dodged the bullet after he fired his publicist and apologized bigtime Thursday– hours after an ABC statement that said his “actions are unacceptable.”
But some critics and lots of gay websites are still calling for Washington to get the axe. And Disney, which has a proud reputation as a “gay friendly’ corporation, has found the escape clause.
The Times quotes an anonymous executive who says Washington’s behavior could be considered grounds for dismissal under Disney’s corporate antidiscrimination policy.
“The situation has potentially great implications for ABC, which is reaping millions of dollars in advertising revenues from a show that, in its third season, is among the highest rated on television.”
Then again, itis an ensemble show, after all…
(UPDATE: Washington met today with gay rights activists who said he agreed to help educate the public about the cruelty of gay slurs. “He seemed very sincere in his interest in working with us in an ongoing basis,” said Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. “We emphasized that this is not a one-shot deal, but an ongoing thing. He was very open to doing this.” According to Jennings, Washington said he wanted to explore ways to work with GLSEN to address issues of “namecalling and how he might use his various platforms to educate people about how painful and wrong it is.” By coincidence, Jennings noted, Monday was the start of GLSEN’s “No Name-Calling Week.”)