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October 14, 2015

Washington may now sue Grey's

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jun 9th 2007 1:01AM
WashingtonHere we go with another chapter in our daily soap "As Grey's Anatomy Turns." A few hours after telling the world he was "really angry" after being fired from ABC's hit show Grey's Anatomy, Isaiah Washington is now pondering suing the series.

TV Guide reports that during an interview, Howard Bragman, Washington's spokesperson, claimed that the actor is really angry. Yesterday, the actor issued a statement in which he said "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." The actor is now ready to take matter in his own hands and let the Network and show how mad he is.

In interview, Bragman commented on the fact that ABC told his client "here's what you need to do if you want to come back." The actor did just that and, in the end, still got fired. The spokesperson added, "If you made a mistake, you acknowledged the mistake, you went into counseling, you met with the groups, you did the PSA, you did everything that was asked of you, and then they still kick you in the gut? How would you feel?" Washington clearly feels "angry and mad."

There were no official documents signed between the actor and the network that clearly stated that if Washington did everything this would mean him keeping his job. However, the discussions between ABC and the actor led him to believe that he would keep his acting gig as long as he met all demands, which he did. And even though producers can decide not to keep an actor for another season with or without reason, the actor is still thinking of suing ABC.

If Washington sues ABC, it's unlikely that he will get his job back, even for a few episodes. The best the actor can wish for right now is more press and some money.

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If Washington shoved someone, charge him with assault and prove it in court. And David's right, this is nothing like Imus. Imus insulted a bunch of young women he'd never met with a slur that has never been shown to be true or false. Washington insulted a coworker with a slur, that for all it's crudeness and insensitivity, was in point of fact, true. So lessee, crucial free speech issue when it's the white guy, just desserts when it's the black guy. Fans of liberty when it's the white guy, hyper-sensitive to any trace of the 'hostile workplace' when it's the black guy. What the heck, if you can make the rules work for you go for it; but at least be honest about the hypocrisy. That people are trying to rationalize this blatant doublestandard by playing the white victim card off of the conjecture of what would've happened had Dempsey called Washington a bad name is insane. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

June 11 2007 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, Washington has the freedom to say the words, but the employer has the freedom to not pick him up for another season if they feel he would create a hostile workplace by his personal freedoms. Washington didn't get arrested for what he said. That is about where freedoms end. Just because you are free to say something doesn't mean it will have no consequence, because people are free to not like you for what you said!

June 11 2007 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Sure, if you can prove that it is, in fact, illogical."

I just did - DUH!

There were plenty of people intolerant of segregationists but would you actually equate thei intolerance of intolerance with intolerance of racism? You would. If you were a complete idiot.


June 10 2007 at 1:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Can we finally put an end to the 'intolerance of intolerance is intolerance' argument that forever keeps rearing it's illogical head?"

Sure, if you can prove that it is, in fact, illogical.

And for the record, I never said people don't have the right to be upset. Of course, people have that right. All part of the freedom of speech I've been harping on (illogically, apparantly). :-)

I do think, however, that people have jumped to conclusions in this case, based on incomplete evidence. Those conclusions might be right, I don't know. But that's been one of my main points--I DON'T KNOW. And I refuse to judge the man based on what my local blogs and other less-than-objective media outlets have decided to say about him.

and, if you've read my posts, you'll see that I've acknowledged the strong argument of PRIVATE company, etc. I think that makes sense.

June 09 2007 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"That's pretty freakin' intolerant, if you ask me."

Can we finally put an end to the "intolerance of intolerance is intolerance" argument that forever keeps rearing it's illogical head?

Washington may or may not be a homophobe - who cares - but he created a hostile work environment and he was turfed. That's the RIGHT of the PRIVATE company called ABC. Now, Washington has the RIGHT to say what he wants just as everyone else HAS THE RIGHT TO CALL HIM AN ASSHOLE FOR IT (or boycott sponsors, etc). Now, speaking of rights, TR Knight DOES NOT have the right to marry, keep his job if his employer has a problem with his sexuality, keep his home if his landlord has a problem with him being gay, visit his dying lover if the family forbids it.

Chuck, people have the RIGHT to get upset at what people say. Sorry but that ALSO involves the freedom of speech that you keep harping on about. But there is an inequality, there is a lack of rights, at it's not Washington that's its victim.

June 09 2007 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


I never thought he should keep his job, i thought very the start that he should have been let go. Because i thought if Dempsey had said the N word that he would have gotten fired and fair is fair. I think if you create a work place that is hostile then you don't need to be there anymore.

My point was that Don Imus, now has this stigma of being told not to come back to his radio show. From here on in people willl say Don Imus got fired, he was suppose to be suspended and they said forget it just dont come back.

Washington on the hand if he plays it right could one day come back to the show if all sides are willing. From here on out everyone involved can say the character had just reached he usefulness was andwritten off the show like any other characater, and all parties decided to go their seperate ways.

People can say he got fired , but as other have pointed out he can just say HE decided not to renew his option or he knew that his character was only going to be on for three seasons.

Now it all about PR and how Washington plays it.

I never thought he should keep his job, i thought he was getting off light being allowed to finish off the season. I thought it was insesitive to the rest of the cast mainly TR Knight that he was allowed to stay.

June 09 2007 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the real world, a person would have been fired a long time ago for what Washington did. But even ignoring the fact that what he did was use a hateful slur against a co-worker while causing a fight in the workplace, the first ammendment protects the right to speak your mind without government sanction. It doesn't protect your right to be a public bigot and keep your job. Any employer has an obligation to their clients, patrons, and audience. For a very public organization like Disney, to employ someone who had made such a public mess over a hateful slur would not serve their customers and viewers. Of course he got fired. Disney has no Constitutional obligation to offend a segment of their audience.

June 09 2007 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Washington pushed the other guy and called him a faggot and you think he should keep his job?

And this is nothing like Imus. Imus said some really bad joke on the radio, he doesn't work with them, or for them, he never touched them or even met him. Imus shouldn't have been fired but further proves my point. You make fun of blacks, you get bitched at and fired. You touch a gay, oh now Washinton probably thinks he has gay germs now, call them a faggot, ly about it and by doing so called him a faggot again and is fired at the last minute.

And like I said, and I don't think anyone answered, is what else were they suppose to do? Fire him or everyone else, that's it.

June 09 2007 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

very good point GC.

I'm sure that Washington didn't even consider that to be their meaning. Cause let's face it, ABC doesn't mind just telling someone not to show up anymore .

For all we known directly after the incident, Shonda was given the orders to start writing him off the show.

And it's not like his character got married, and when the new season starts we find out he died during the honeymoon.

Personally i think he lucked out, Don Imus was told to pack his stuff and go. Washington was given a graceful exit from the show.

June 09 2007 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GC in CA

"I guess my beef isn't so much the legal apsect (never claimed he'd win the lawsuit), but the fact that these days people are repeatedly condemned and forced to basically recant anytime they express unpopular opinions or comments."

Except that this whole thing didn't blow up when he apologized or recanted, but when he denied that he'd ever said anything at all. He didn't just deny it privately, either, but on the red carpet at an awards show. Which meant that every co-star that followed him that day who had prepared themselves to answer questions about "the event" in a diplomatic way were instead told that Washington said that "the event" never took place, implying that everyone else had just made it up. That pushed a few buttons, I think.

"Now I may be mistaken, but in the first paragraph (amendment 1) of this document it states the right of freedom of speech."

Actually, the first paragraph states that Congress shall make no laws abridging the right to free speech, which in this case it has not. As more than 200 years of case law has proven, however, is that an individual's right to say something does not mean that anyone else is required to listen to it.

What we have here are issues involving contract law and workplace law. As someone stated earlier, Washington's contract had an option for renewal that the producers decided to waive. It's a pretty standard contract for performers in Hollywood, so trying to fight that is a non-starter. Even if it weren't, a common tactic in the corporate world is to eliminate a position rather than fire someone for cause. Washington was hired to play the part of Dr. Burke, but if the producers decided that they had done everything they wanted to with that character and were going to stop writing it, the position has effectively been eliminated and his services will no longer be needed.

As for what ABC told him what he needed to do to come back, that could very well have just meant to come back and finish the season rather than being fired outright.

June 09 2007 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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