The details keep coming. Isaiah Washington was fired from Grey’s Anatomy in 2007 after allegedly using a homophobic slur on set, and now, the writers are sharing exactly what happened — and how Patrick Dempsey was involved.
“It was my episode. I think one of them had been late to set one day and the other one then decided to pay him back by being late himself. Then it sort of exploded,” writer Mark Wilding recalled in Lynette Rice’s book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy. “They got into an arguing match, and then before you know it they were physically fighting. I was standing there in video village. I’m, like, six feet four inches. I’m bigger than both of them. But I didn’t really jump in right away because I’m like, I don’t know if I want to get involved.”
The fight reportedly ended with the P-Valley star, 57, using a slur but denying it was directed at anybody specific. At the time, many felt it was aimed at costar T.R. Knight.
“Patrick Dempsey would show up exactly the moment he was due on set. One of his favorite lines was, ‘Livin’ the dream. Let’s shoot this,'” writer Harry Werksman added. “Isaiah had been there early. He was always there earlier than he needed to be. That was part of his process. And Isaiah, for whatever reason that day, just took that the wrong way and he went after Patrick. I guess he felt disrespected that he and the crew had been waiting. He went after Patrick, pushed him up against the wall, and said, ‘You can’t talk to me the way you talk to that little [SLUR] T.R.'”
Crew member Marty Carrillo claimed he was on set at the time.
“I heard, ‘You son of a bitch!’ And then the f-word,” he added. “Everyone knew T.R. was gay. For some reason, Isaiah just lost it and pinned Patrick up against the wall. You could see Isaiah’s pupils go wide, like, ‘What did I do?’ It was quiet. Everyone had to leave the set.”
The Enchanted star, 55, who exited the series in 2015, and Washington both gave quotes about the incident in the tell-all book.
“We learned that we [had] to watch what we say. We [had] to make sure we [were] more accountable,” Washington said, while Dempsey added, “I think the explosion really healed the show. No one passed the buck, and everyone owned up to the situation and moved on.”
Washington denied the claim that he used the slur against Knight later that year at the 64th annual Golden Globes, telling press, “[That] never happened.”
In the book, the 100 actor added, “I did everything that the producers and the network asked me to do. I came back under great stress, and thought I was doing the job I was hired to do. I thought that was going to speak for my future at Grey’s, but apparently that wasn’t the same vision that the network and studio had for me.”