Isaiah Washington/T.R. Knight Drama

I missed the red carpet section of this year’s Golden Globes, and was honestly to excited for Jennifer Hudson’s nomination to really care about what anyone else was doing or saying.

Afterwards, I was basking in her win!

My glimmer dulled by reports that Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington had apparently called co-star TR Knight a “faggot,” and then repeated the word in the press room when he flat out denied the allegation. Knight appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show, coming out as gay, and saying emphatically that Washington had used the slur when referring to him.

So I have been trying to figure out how to respond to this. On the one hand, we don’t actually know if Washington said it the first time he is accused of saying it, although people are sort of assuming he did, largely because of the reported fight he had earlier in the season with co-star Patrick Dempsey. But then, he did say it in the press room.

So, if he said it, I don’t think there’s any defending that. I am really tired of brothas and their homophobia, and tired of feeling like I have to defend them publicly when shit like this happends.

But I am sick of the white gay community’s self righteousness, especially when it comes to dealing with black homophobes. When I read in the press that Washington issued a statement apologizing for making the statement on the red carpet, and that he had met with members of the gay and lesbian community, I wondered, which members of the gay community? Were there any black folks in that bunch of people? I know there are black folks that work for some of the usual suspect organizations that are the “official gays” to be met with when a str8 person needs something, or fucks up publicly, but sometimes I wish I knew who those “leaders” were. Are these the same people that displace poor and working class black folks in cities across the U.S. when they build their (white) gay-borhoods? Or the ones who don’t allow black folks in their clubs, like the Castro in San Fran?

Washington needs to be held accountable to them?

I think not! Beyond slurs, the white gay community is so completely organized around its hostility to blacks and black-ness that Washington, while I may be pissed with him for using the term, should not be held accountable to them. Period.

Not that this is the final word on why someone is or is not homophobic, but Washington did play a black gay man in Spike Lee’s Get On the Bus, which even in 2007, most black actors in Hollywood have reportedly flat out refused to do. Not that I’m grateful to him, but I haven’t seen anyone mention that fact.

I hadn’t intended to write this much on it, but instead wanted to point you to another blogger’s post on the issue, Jasmyne Cannick.

7 thoughts on “Isaiah Washington/T.R. Knight Drama

  1. I think he needs to meet with the National Black Justice Coalition and any Black gay groups out there in L.A., and call it a day.

  2. I feel that the recent performance by Isaiah Washington back stage at the Golden Globes continues a disturbing trend of hateful self absorbed stars freely spewing there own prejudices with no consequences. First we hear Washington started a fight with one co-star, apparently not his first fight, and then we hear he called T.R. Knight a fagot. Then he denies it in the most inappropriate place and way, only further showing his insensitive self promoting ways. Then we hear on “Ellen” that he did say it. So he’s violent, hateful, prejudice and dishonest. If he was on Lost they would have killed off his character by now. The thing Washington has in common with Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, besides rage, aggression, hate, and prejudice is they are all incredibly arrogant. That’s a lot of character flaws. I love the show and hope that they will show the character that the fans and the rest of the cast deserve and send a message that this kind of intolerance has no place on thier show. All prejudice is the same.

  3. I can’t believe what you have written here. And, I agree 100% Very, very well said.

  4. This whole situation is a mess, from Washington’s bizarre initial comments, to T.R.’s lack of a backbone, to GLAAD’s sanctimoniousness, to the idea that a “psychological assessment” is going to remedy all. It’s pretty clear that the “f-bomb” flew from Washington’s mouth, but regardless of the reason or context, I don’t think it warrants him losing his job or becoming shunned by the industry.

  5. To the latest ‘anonymous’, I believe your comment only adds to the mess. I can’t believe you have the audacity to accuse T.R. Knight of ‘not having a backbone’, despite the fact that he came out afterwards (on his own, I might add), and then say that Washington doesn’t deserve to lose his job… what exactly did you want T.R. to do to protest Washington’s comments that hasn’t already been done? What else should T.R. Knight ask for from Washington in order for Mr. “No I didn’t call him a faggot” to atone himself, short of being fired? Bottom line is, T.R. has not lost his job, which is apparently what you wanted to happen, and T.R. came out to speak out about this without asking for T.R. to lose his job, which apparently, you don’t want to happen.

  6. Oops, that last sentence should read – “Bottom line is, WASHINGTON has not lost his job, which is apparently what you wanted to happen, and T.R. came out to speak out about this without asking for WASHINGTON to lose his job, which apparently, you don’t want to happen.”

  7. Mmmkay,

    I was the 2:19 anon, in response to the 5:34 anon…

    Sorry, T.R. didn’t “come out on his own.” He was outed by the press after the initial on-set incident. It’s an unfortunate way to be outed, and I don’t believe in forcing people out of the closet, BUT T.R. could’ve prevented alot of drama and innuendo if he had spoke out among cast and crew, instead of taking it to the public… Especially since his message on Ellen was remarkably inarticulate and, frankly, evasive.

    I got the impression that T.R. buried his head in the sand on all of this, expecting it to just go away. If I were in his situation, I couldn’t imagine doing that. I would have at least attempted to initiate some sort of dialogue among cast and crew about this.

    On that Ellen appearance, nothing came out of T.R.’s mouth that was new, inciteful, or progressive. He didn’t even take a stand on if he feels Washington should be fired or not. That, to me, represents someone without a backbone.

    Again, to be clear, I barely know T.R. and have nothing against him, but I think that his evasive attitude about all of this has contributed to the drama. I am in no way defending or excusing Washington’s language, but given the context in which the slur was used, I still don’t feel that this warrants him being fired. And I would still feel that way if, all other things being equal, It was a straight white actor that directed the slur at a semi-closeted black gay actor.

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