GLAAD Condemns Isaiah Washington's Use of Anti-Gay Slur

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

January 17, 2007

January 17, 2007, Los Angeles, CA -- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil G. Giuliano today condemned Isaiah Washington's on-air use of the word "faggot" during a backstage press conference at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards, calling on him to apologize and make amends for this second use of the slur in the past four months.
 
"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 castmates 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."
 
Last October, rumors swirled about Washington having referred to "Grey's Anatomy" co-star T.R. Knight as a "faggot" during an on-set altercation with Patrick Dempsey. The openly gay Knight confirmed today during his appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that Washington had indeed used the slur.
 
Backstage at the January 15 Golden Globes ceremony, Washington repeated the slur while denying having used it to refer to Knight: "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot. Never happened. Never happened." "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Katherine Heigl quickly condemned Washington's use of the slur, telling "Access Hollywood" that the comment was "hurtful" and adding, "I'm not OK with it."
 
"As Ellen pointed out in her discussion with T.R., this is a word that's used to abuse kids on school playgrounds," Giuliano said. "We also know that, tragically, this sometimes can be the last word people hear before they're attacked, beaten and possibly even killed. Washington's repeated use of it on-set and in the media is simply inexcusable."
 
Giuliano said that GLAAD is contacting Washington's representatives today to arrange a meeting with him.  "We want to sit down with him and give him an opportunity to raise public awareness about the destructive impact of these kinds of anti-gay slurs. Over the past four months Washington has become part of a significant problem of anti-gay prejudice in this country. He has an opportunity now to be part of the solution."