Isaiah Washington, the embattled star of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," has begun counseling related to his recent homophobic remarks, the actor's publicist confirms.
“With the support of my family and friends, I have begun counseling," Washington said in a prepared statement. “I regard this as a necessary step toward understanding why I did what I did and making sure it never happens again. I appreciate the fact that I have been given this opportunity and I remain committed to transforming my negative actions into positive results, personally and professionally.”
Washington took a break from filming Tuesday to meet with gay rights activists and offer help in educating the public about the cruelty of such words, an offer the activists called sincere.
Life & Style Weekly has reported that Washington entered a residential treatment facility on Jan. 24; however, his statement does not indicate whether his counseling plans were for inpatient or outpatient treatment. It was also not clear if he would miss work on the show.
"Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes issued a statement saying ""I speak for all the executive producers here at ‘Grey's Anatomy’ when I say that Isaiah Washington's use of such a disturbing word was a shocking and dismaying event that insulted not only gays and lesbians everywhere but anyone who has ever struggled for respect in a world that is not always accepting of difference."
Rhimes' statement went on to say "We’ve been working within the ‘Grey’s‘ family as well as with ABC and Touchstone Television to address the issue in a way that underscores the gravity of the situation while giving us all a foundation for healing. We applaud and encourage Isaiah's realization that he needs help and his subsequent choice to seek immediate treatment for his behavioral issues. "
Washington apparently used the word "faggot" on-set while arguing with another castmate, Patrick Dempsey, about castmate T.R. Knight, who later announced he was gay. The situation was stirred up again after the Jan. 15 Golden Globes, where Washington denied making the comment originally but again used the slur.
Knight later appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and contradicted Washington's Golden Globes statement, saying that the original slur was used, and expressing surprise that his co-worker was now denying usage.
Life & Style Weekly quoted fellow "Grey's" star Katherine Heigl, who was quick to defend Knight, referring to the situation as "tense" and adding “I think it’ll work out and I’m hopeful that it’s handled properly.”
The magazine also quoted castmate Kate Walsh as saying “I feel really sad, I just trust that our show will deal with it in the way that they see fit.”
The hit show now in its third season hasn’t so far suffered from his behavior, at least in the ratings: It drew 22 million viewers in the week before the verbal slur was reported last fall, while the episode last week was watched by 23 million.