Isaiah Washington — the embattled Grey’s Anatomy star who used an antigay slur to address a coworker last fall — will not return to ABC’s No. 1 drama when it returns for a fourth season next September, according to a source close to the situation. The source says ABC Studios declined to renew the actor’s option to play the character Preston Burke after the actor invited an ugly wave of press this season because of his behavior both on and off the set. The source adds that the studio?s decision was likely based on a pattern of suspicious behavior by Washington that, according to press reports, goes back as far as 1997 on the set of the TV show High Incident.
A spokesperson for ABC Studios confirms that it has not picked up Washington’s option for fall. An EW reporter caught up with Washington late Thursday (June 7) at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood, but the actor declined repeated requests to comment about the studio’s decision to drop him other than to refer calls to his publicist. Washington’s publicist confirms that the actor received a call on Thursday telling him he was not invited back to the show next season. He says Washington’s statement on the matter is: ”I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”
Last fall, Washington was accused of calling fellow actor T.R. Knight a ”faggot” during an on-set bruhaha. He repeated the slur at the Golden Globes in January. Within days of the incident becoming public, Knight announced he was gay.
The ordeal enraged coworkers, though some of have since forgiven Washington, who won an NAACP Image Award last March for best actor in a drama series. Katherine Heigl told EW this month that while she was ”furious and frustrated” by Washington’s behavior at the Globes, she later accepted his apology. ”Isaiah thanked me, which I didn’t understand,” she said. ”He was almost grateful. I don’t know Isaiah well, but he takes his work seriously and he loves his character. He made a big mistake, and it was thoughtless and boneheaded, and I think he’s very sorry and embarrassed. This is something that will have changed the scope of his life.”
Meanwhile, Washington taped a public service announcement for GLAAD, saying that ”words have power,” which aired during a repeat of Grey’s in May.
Washington’s character appeared to flee Seattle Grace in the May 17 season finale of Grey’s. Given the situation, it’s unlikely that he will return even for a brief appearance next season. All the other key stars — including Knight, whose character flunked his intern exam and was questioning whether to repeat the year — will be back. Developing….