As Isaiah Washington processes the complex feelings about his high-profile axing from Grey's Anatomy, downgrading himself from "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore," to the far more reasonable, "saddened, but will gladly work with the powers that be to see if there isn't some third solution out there that better suits everyone's interests," questions still linger as to who ordered the whacking and when. According to an AP report, it was not the decision of Grey's showrunner Shonda Rhimes—who "wept" when she made the call on Thursday—but rather a troika of high-ranking ABC studio and network execs:
The operation to remove Washington, 43, was quick and neat. The studio declined to exercise his contract option for another season — Washington would have earned about $2.7 million in salary — and he was dumped shortly after the May finale.
With Dr. Burke conveniently written out of the show in the last episode, the move had to have been planned for some time.
The decision was made by executives including ABC Studios President Mark Pedowitz, ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson and Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney. ABC and the studio declined comment this week, but Washington said he was "saddened" by the outcome.
The offing, as most everyone knows by now, was in direct response to Washington's repeated release of Gay F-Bombs on or near his fellow cast members, but an anonymous source also points towards a disturbing "pattern of behavior," including one 1997 incident that saw the actor manhandle a movie costumer who had the audacity to request he remove a magazine from his pocket for a shot. It's precisely this kind of volatility that terrifies a network president: If closeted gay actors and wardrobe people can't feel safe around the talent, their days of primetime stardom are likely numbered, and the only course of action is to order an underling to take care of the matter for them.