meets with GLAAD and
Los Angeles--Grey�s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington met with representatives of two LGBT organizations on January 22, atoning for his use of what the mainstream media is now calling �the Fword.�
In October, Washington had an on-set altercation with fellow Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, in which he referred to actor T.R. Knight as being Dempsey�s �faggot.� After the news broke, Washington apologized. Knight also came out to the press.
However, at a Golden Globes press conference on January 15, Washington denied using the word, repeating it before cameras in the process.
Earlier, during the red carpet entrances before the Globes, Washington had told reporters, �I love gay. I wanted to be gay. Please let me be gay.�
But at the press conference, Washington took the microphone and declared, �I did not call T.R. a faggot.�
Both Knight and co-star Katherine Heigl accused him of lying. The incident became a major flap in the entertainment world, spurring calls from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for the actor to meet with them to discuss his use of the homophobic slur.
�I�m going to be really honest right now,� Heigl told Access Hollywood at an after-party, �He needs to just not speak in public. Period.�
�I don�t think [Washington] means it the way he comes off,� she continued, �but T.R. is my best friend . . . I will use every ounce of energy I have to take you down if you hurt his feelings.�
After issuing a public apology, Washington backed it up with a meeting with both GLAAD and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network on January 22.
�Isaiah understands that he is going to be judged by more than just his apology,� said Neil Giuliano, president of GLAAD. He and GLSEN founder and executive director Kevin Jennings met with the actor.
�He knows that his future actions, including the genuine first step that today�s meeting represents, will demonstrate his sincerity in becoming part of the solution to anti-gay bigotry,� Giuliano continued.
Jennings, whose meeting with Washington coincided with the first day of GLSEN�s annual No Name-Calling Week, noted, �GLSEN is thankful to ABC for arranging the meeting and hopeful that Isaiah Washington has come to a deeper understanding of the power of words, especially as we launch No Name-Calling Week in schools across the country.�
�As a parent himself, Isaiah Washington seemed to particularly appreciate the impact these words have on young people in schools and expressed an interest in becoming an ally in GLSEN�s effort to educate young people about the negative impact of name-calling and bullying,� Jennings continued.
�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,� Washington said in a January 18 apology, which came after he fired his publicist. �I know a mere apology will not end this, and I intend to let my future actions prove my sincerity.�
Washington�s two uses of the word �faggot� bookended the uproar over comedian Michael Richards� much-publicized meltdown at a Hollywood comedy club, in which he repeatedly referred to two men in the audience as �niggers.�
During the media frenzy that followed, news agencies referred to his use of �the Nword,� just as many are now doing with Washington�s use of �the Fword.�
The New York Times, for instance, did not print the word �faggot� in a story about the imbroglio, referring only to �an anti-gay slur.�
Ironically, this week GLAAD nominated the Grey�s Anatomy episode �Where the Boys Are� for a Media Award in the Outstanding Individual Episode category.