Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I thought I wouldnt talk about this....but

My mind has been reeling lately about Isaiah Washington and his use of the word "faggot" on the set of Grey's Anatomy, then his denial, then his joke, then his "meeting" with GLSEN.

First I thought that it was well-placed publicity for ABC, which given their ratings of late, needs absolutely no help. Then my mind started to bend some more. The New York Times recently made the editorial decision NOT to print the word "faggot". CNN has made the editorial decision to allow the use of the word. In a conversation with Glen Beck, talk show host Dave Glover and he had the following exchange: full transcript available here

BECK: Dave, what is the -- what is the controversy? One of the guys called another guy a naughty name.

GLOVER: Yes. Basically you have Isaiah Washington, who's one of the stars of the show, who referred to one of his co-stars during a heated argument as a derogatory term for a gay man that starts with "F", rhymes with maggot. Did it a couple more times after that. And do you like how I did that?

BECK: Yes.

GLOVER: And...

BECK: Do you know that The New York Times wouldn't even print -- I mean, we can say the word. We`re having an adult conversation here. Wouldn't even print the word "fagot [sic]."

GLOVER: Right.

BECK: Wouldn't print it. I find that amazing.

Now I feel like it is my turn to have "an adult conversation" here. I feel, and think that people would agree with me, that the word "faggot" is indeed culturally accepted as defamatory. I also think that people will agree that the rights of homosexuals (since homos are indeed human) is a civil rights issue. I will further purport that people will be able to call to mind (without me listing them all here) many other defamatory words that people use. It is unfortunate that there seems to be a hierarchy of defamation. People today feel less guilty using the word "faggot" and other defamatory homosexual slurs than they do, for instance, making remarks against Jews, African Americans, or Hispanics--among others. This has got to stop.

Andy Towle at towleroad has said, "It is now ABC's turn to step up to the plate and demonstrate that they have zero tolerance for anti-gay bigotry by firing Washington." (source)
And I have to agree with him. Grey's Anatomy is one of the largest shows on television now. We, as caring human beings, need to continue to speak out against this indecency until our voices are heard. It has been reported that Mr. Washington has indeed had a meeting with GLSEN to understand what steps he needs to take to "heal" this wrongdoing. (Mama said always start with an apology--and not to me....to Mr. T.R. Knight). Will this happen? As a publicist, I know that Mr. Washington's publicist will indeed issue all kinds of "statements" that he/she has written for him where Mr. Washington appears to grovel. It is quite possible that Isaiah never wrote, much less read these "statements". Given Mr. Washington's behavior when flippantly making jokes about the remarks he made, I find it hard to believe that he is not a homophobe. What Mr. Washington needs is to be fired.

It has been said that the American people shine lights too brightly onto our celebrities, and whereas I believe that is true, I do know that in order to become a celebrity, you have to make a choice to make it happen, and hire many people to insure that it happens. Celebrities are celebrities because they want to be. It is their responsibility to live a life under a microscope. It is our responsibility to end the attention when we choose fit. How? By merely allowing the person to fall back in to obscurity. From this moment forward, I pledge to do so towards Mr. Isaiah Washington. I intend to never speak or write his name from this moment forward. I will abstain from watching Grey's Anatomy until he is no longer featured. (i'm not a huge fan anyways. I have seen the show twice) I will also use my database to send these sentiments to the producers and executives of the show.

I urge you to do the same thing. Condemn the behavior. Demand catharsis. Remember, ABC is the top network now because we watch it. Never forget that you have the power to change that. Thursdays at 9/8 central.

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