Ex-`Grey's Anatomy' Star Says Racism A Factor In His Firing


Thursday, June 28th 2007, 8:33 pm
By: News On 6


LOS ANGELES (AP) _ ``Grey's Anatomy'' star Isaiah Washington said racism was a factor in his firing from the hit series after he twice used an anti-gay slur.

Washington, who initially used the epithet during an onset clash with a co-star, told Newsweek magazine that ``someone heard the booming voice of a black man and got really scared and that was the beginning of the end for me.''

He tried to make amends by expressing remorse and volunteering to enter a counseling program to understand how the confrontation got out of hand, he told Newsweek.

``My mistake was believing that I would get the support from my network and all of my cast mates across the board. My mistake was believing I could correct a wrong with honesty and sincerity,'' he said in the interview posted online Thursday.

``My mistake was thinking black people get second chances. I was wrong on all fronts,'' he said.

His unwillingness to act like a submissive black at work was part of the problem, Washington said.

``Well, it didn't help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn't a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn't speak like I'd just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime,'' he said.

``I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that `some people' were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I'm a 6-foot-1, black man with dark skin and who doesn't go around saying `Yessah, massa sir' and `No sir, massa' to everyone?

``It's nuts when your presence alone can just scare people, and that made me a prime candidate to take the heat in a dysfunctional family,'' he said.

ABC declined comment Thursday. In its one public statement regarding Washington, issued in January, the network said his actions were ``unacceptable.''

Washington, who used the slur against co-star T.R. Knight during a confrontation with Patrick Dempsey, repeated the word backstage at the Golden Globes in January in denying the first incident. A public apology to Knight and others followed.