This Former "Grey's Anatomy" Star Just Reignited a 15-Year-Old Feud
More than a decade later, Isaiah Washington is reinvigorating his 2007 feud with Katherine Heigl.
Some Hollywood feuds have been known to last for decades, but many times, they seem to die down. Of course, that doesn't mean they're dead for good, as Isaiah Washington, a former lead on Grey's Anatomy, just proved. In a tweet storm on Nov. 16, the actor reignited a 2007 war-of-words with his former costar Katherine Heigl, who he believes is partially responsible for his ultimate firing from the series.
Washington shared a photo of Heigl on Twitter, unleashing his words onto her. "This woman once proclaimed that I should 'never' be allowed to speak publicly again," fumed Washington, who uses the Twitter name "The Tweet Sniper." "The world agreed with her proclamation back then and protested for my job and my head in 65 languages. I wish I was on Twitter in 2007, because I will NEVER stop exercising my free speech." But he didn't stop there, read on to find out how the feud began and see what else Washington had to say. And for more Grey's scandals that have resurfaced, check out The One Word "Grey's Anatomy" Was Forced to Censor.
Their initial feud started after Washington reportedly called Grey's costar T.R. Knight an anti-gay slur.
Washington skyrocketed to fame in 2005 when Grey's Anatomy became a surprise hit show for ABC. He played Dr. Preston Burke, one of the core characters on the series and a love interest of Dr. Cristina Yang, Sandra Oh's character.
However, in Oct. 2006 rumors started swirling that during an on-set argument with actor Patrick Dempsey, Washington called Knight a f*****. Soon after, Knight came out as gay, but the drama had just begun.
While there were rumors of an apology, at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards, Washington got himself in hot water once again when he attempted to address the incident in the press room after the show won the Best Drama Series award.
"No, I did not call T.R. a f*****. Never happened, never happened," Washington said. "There is no way I could do anything so vile, and so horrible, not only to a castmate but to a fellow human being." And for a more recent show that's seen conflict, check out ABC Sitcom Star Quits, Calling Show a "Toxic Environment."
Heigl stood up for her "best friend" Knight and said Washington should "not speak in public."
Heigl, who had remained silent up to this point, finally decided to speak out in support of her close friend Knight. "I'm going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period," she told Access Hollywood in early 2007 of Washington, according to People. "I'm sorry, that did not need to be said, I'm not OK with it."
When asked if Knight was hurt over the situation, Heigl replied, "I don't see how you could not be under those circumstances."
She then insinuated that it was Grey's Anatomy's responsibility to take action. "I just feel like this is something that should be very much in-house we need to deal with. T.R. is my best friend. I will throw down for that kid," she said. And for the famous friends who've fallen out, here are Former Celebrity Best Friends Who Barely Speak Anymore.
Washington was ultimately fired from Grey's Anatomy.
Shortly thereafter, an ABC executive told The New York Times that Washington's actions could be "considered grounds for dismissal under anti-discrimination policy." Despite recording a PSA with GLAAD and issuing a formal apology to Knight, it was decided that Washington would be written off the show following the Season 3 finale. In the episode, his character stands up Yang at the alter of their wedding. While he was mentioned in future episodes, he never made another appearance. And for more subtle TV show firings, check out 16 TV Actors Who Were Replaced Like It Was No Big Deal.
And he blamed the media for perpetuating the drama.
"I can only apologize so many times. I can only accept so much responsibility," he told Entertainment Weekly when he broke his silence post-firing in 2007. "All the players involved have taken care of what we needed to take care of in-house—and the media took it in a different direction. I hope that everyone is happy for the outcome for Isaiah, but Isaiah will go on and do what I love to do. And I have to go about the business of letting people know what's written about me is not the truth. I'm merely an actor, a husband, and a father who's trying to do a great job and be very grateful and understanding that I'm in a very privileged position."
Washington added that he was moving on, but called the situation "a horrible misunderstanding that was 'blown out of proportion.'" And for another feud that's made headlines recently, check out Brian Austin Green's Response to Megan Fox Feud in New Video.
Heigl has yet to respond to Washington's 2020 rant, but he continued in the comments on Twitter.
In response to a Twitter user who said, "What speaks to your strength are the lessons you have learned and how you have moved on in a positive way," Washington added: "I've learned that all money ain't good money and no amount of money can replace your dignity and integrity. Some call it living by your principles."
But he didn't stop there. He proceeded to interact with his followers. "Where is she now? Lol. One of the most disliked in Hollywood," wrote one user. "Facts," responded Washington.
Heigl—who left Grey's Anatomy in 2010 after her own feud with the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes—has yet to respond to Washington's most recent lash-out, nor have any of other current or past Grey's stars. And for more onscreen romantic pairings that weren't what they seemed, check out 11 Beloved Movie Couples Who Clashed Behind the Scenes.