Isaiah Washington is apologizing for an allegedly homophobic slur he uttered in the heat of the moment that may have prompted his "Grey's Anatomy" co-star to come out of the closet.
"I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set," Washington tells People. "Both are beneath my own personal standards. I have nothing but respect for my coworkers ... and have apologized personally to everyone involved."
The apology stems from an argument Washington, 43, had with Patrick Dempsey, 40, on set on Oct. 9. The two were apparently waiting for T.R. Knight to film a scene, when Washington got impatient and called his absent co-star a bad name. Some accounts say that Washington even got a little physical in his anger when Dempsey tried to defend Knight.
Less than two weeks after the widely reported incident, Knight issued a statement to People, announcing: "I guess there have been a few questions about my sexuality, and I'd like to quiet any unnecessary rumors that may be out there. While I prefer to keep my personal life private, I hope the fact that I'm gay isn't the most interesting part of me."
Backlash for the scuffle has sparked rumors that Washington would be fired and replaced by Eriq La Salle ("ER").
"I found [those rumors] not only ridiculous but offensive that we would consider replacing a member of our family," says the show's creator Shonda Rhimes. "And also the [idea] that one black man was interchangeable with another seemed disturbing to me."
According to Rhimes, all the actors are now "fine" with each other and playing nicely. She chalks up the incident to normal stress on the set, not any undue jealousy or tension that insiders say plague the cast.
"The mood's what the mood's always been," she says. "We have a group of people who are more of a family than anything else. We have our fun days, and we have our days when people are tired and the work is hard."
At the end of the day, Rhimes and the rest of the "Grey's" crew would just like the negative attention to end.
"[The incident] was four and a half seconds of one day in three years," says Rhimes. "I feel like we've already moved on."
Ever since moving to its new home on Thursday nights, "Grey's Anatomy" has been consistently outperforming CBS favorite "CSI." The medical soap about a group of surgical interns has drawn approximately 24 million viewers compared to "CSI's" nearly 18 million.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times