Feeling, perhaps, that a single, lesbian-authored petition that lumped him in the same ABC discard pile as Star Jones would hardly be sufficient to clear his good name, Isaiah Washington has finally taken the business of salvaging his reputation into his own hands—and in the process, shed some light on what exactly it was he was referring to in his now-legendary, post-axing battle cry, "I'm mad as hell and not going to take anymore." In an interview yesterday with the Houston Chronicle, Washington outlined his side of the story, describing the actions of an ambitious young actor, who leaped upon an offensive word regrettably uttered during a set dispute and rode the six-letter missile to new heights of stardom:
"I have to clear my name," a determined Washington told the Houston Chronicle in a telephone interview from the set of his new movie, The Least of These. "I'll start from the beginning. I'm telling everything. So here's the truth."
Washington said Knight, who plays Dr. George O'Malley, stirred up the notion that the slur was targeted at him and created a negative work environment. Washington also alleged that Knight likely wanted a salary increase and a more substantive role for his character.
Knight, who acknowledged that he was gay after the incident, told Ellen DeGeneres in January that Washington used the slur against him and that "everyone (on the set) heard it."
"That's a lie," Washington said. "I used the word during a disagreement with Patrick. I apologized for that. We shook hands and went back to work."
He said he is considering a lawsuit. "My livelihood, my honor and dignity and my name have been so challenged." [...]
"I was not fired for making homophobic slurs," he said. "I did everything I said I would do. I offered to go to counseling, to do a public service announcement. I wanted everyone to know I was remorseful."
If the assertions are true, it paints the affable Dr. George O'Malley—and the pudgy-cheeked, Labrador-toting actor who portrays him—in a sinister new light. A vengeful Washington, meanwhile, will surely only continue to ramp up his countermeasures, and we imagine it won't be long before he unveils a crucial piece of evidence on an upcoming, equal-time Ellen appearance: blurry cell phone video of the actual McChokedown taken by an opportunistic P.A, and showing Knight's eyeballs turning into actual dollar signs just moments after the pink F-bomb was dropped.