Isaiah Washington opened up about his experiences on the Grey’s Anatomy set, and what he said were many toxic elements in play involving key figures on the ABC medical drama, in particular former leading man Patrick Dempsey.
Washington, 58, speaking on KBLA Talk 1580 with Tavis Smiley Thursday, said that Ellen Pompeo, 51, ‘took $5 million dollars under the table … to not tell the world how toxic and nasty Patrick Dempsey really was’ years back when dozens of high-profile Hollywood names were accused of workplace misconduct amid the #MeToo movement, US Weekly reported.
Washington said he ‘used as a scapegoat’ when he was let go from the series in 2007 after he was accused of using a homophobic slur at castmate T.R. Knight.
The latest: Isaiah Washington, 58, opened up about his experience on the Grey’s Anatomy set, and what he said were many toxic elements in play involving key figures on the set of the ABC medical drama, in particular former leading man Patrick Dempsey, 55. Washington was snapped in LA in 2018
He said on the radio show that ‘it was an agenda to cover up for the toxic and bad behavior of many of my former castmates on that show … and the top of that would be Patrick Dempsey.’
Washington said that his tension with Dempsey, 55, was initially based on finances.
‘I was the highest paid person on that show, next to Patrick Dempsey,’ he said. ‘Apparently, it got out, so there was a lot of resentment. I understand that but it was based on my roles and my resume. I can’t help that.
‘He was called Pilot Poison. No one wanted him on the show. They wanted Rob Lowe.’
Washington was critical of both Dempsey and Pompeo in the interview
Details: Washington said that a ‘simmering of disrespect’ from Dempsey worsened as time went on, recalling details of an infamous October 2006 clash they had when he was late to the set. The actor was snapped in LA in 2019
Washington added that Dempsey ‘was not a nice guy from day one,’ recalling an exchange with producer Peter Horton and Dempsey on his first day.
‘I was at a table read, Peter Horton … came over and said, “I thought we got rid of you.” Patrick Dempsey walks in, didn’t think I could see him with the reflection, throws up his hands, like, “What is he doing here?” That’s day one.’
Washington claimed Dempsey made racially-charged statements to him while on set.
‘He liked me and once I had a conversation with him, he said, “Isaiah, do you know that white men are the masters of the universe?” And I said, “You really believe that?” And he said “Absolutely,”‘ Washington said, according to the outlet.
Washington said that a ‘simmering of disrespect’ from Dempsey worsened as time went on, recalling details of an infamous October 2006 clash they had when he was late to the set.
‘That Monday, he is late. Instead of apologizing for it, he got in my face and assaulted me three times. Physically. I did what I had to do as a man. And I cussed him out.
He said that the homophobic phrase he used was accused of using toward Knight was said in a different context.
Washington said he told Dempsey, ‘You’re not going to punk me, you’re not going to treat me like a B-word and you’re not going to treat me like an F-word.
‘I was speaking to myself as we refer to as a schoolyard taunt and weakness. Talking about myself. But I had already heard the abuse, that he threw Kate Walsh through a window out of anger. That he terrorized T. R. Knight.’
The actor played the role of Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC show prior to his 2007 firing
Washington cited a number of instances in which he felt the set had a toxic element to it
He said that Knight, 48, was not present when he used the offensive phrase, and that the story with Dempsey was twisted to make him look bad.
‘It went from us having a brawl, which was never a brawl, to me saying something about T.R.,’ Washington said, adding that he was ‘coerced to apologize’ to keep his spot on the hit show.
In the interview, Washington claimed that Pompeo had become ‘unnerved’ by the buzz surrounding other performers on the series, including himself and Sandra Oh.
‘She couldn’t believe that everybody was more interested in me and Sandra and everybody else than her,’ he said, adding that he was ‘not shocked’ by Pompeo’s revelation last month that she clashed with Denzel Washington when the Oscar-winner directed an episode of the series in 2016.
‘She really thinks that she’s cool with Black people like that, but she’s not,’ Isaiah Washington said.