Isaiah Washington Reignites A 13-Year-Old Grey’s Anatomy Feud With Katherine Heigl

Photo: Karen Neal/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images.
Throughout the seventeen long seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on television, many of the medical drama’s most prominent characters have exited the show for one reason or the other, but few were more controversial than the sudden firing of Isaiah Washington. It’s been 13 years since the actor was written out of the plot and out of Grey’s Anatomy canon for problematic behavior, but he’s still got some lingering resentment to get off his chest.
Washington famously played Dr. Preston Burke, a talented cardiothoracic surgeon who was also the other love of Cristina Yang’s (Sandra Oh) life — right after her best friend Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), that is. After season three, the actor was fired from the popular ABC series when word got out that he had used a homophobic slur during an argument with cast mate Patrick Dempsey. Shonda Rhimes and ABC agreed to release him from his contract, and he was only allowed back to the show years later to wrap up Cristina’s final story arc in season 10.
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The Grey’s Anatomy alum is still feeling the sting of his forced exit from the series, as evidenced by a random outburst taking place on his Twitter page. On Monday, Washington revived the drama of the past, specifically throwing shots at one of former co-stars: Katherine Heigl. Heigl spoke out against Washington at the height of the scandal, saying that he “needs to just not speak in public, period.” 
“This woman once proclaimed that I should ‘never’ be allowed to speak publicly again,” Washington tweeted, including a photo of the 27 Dresses star. “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.”
When Grey’s Anatomy fans flooded his mentions, Washington didn’t hesitate to expound on his original tweet; he called Heigl the “original Karen” and even mentioned Chandra Wilson (who stars on the show as Miranda Bailey) for some reason. 
People from Heigl's side took note of Washington's tweets and fired back with their own statement, asserting that she was only standing up for her friend T.R. Knight, who famously revealed that he was gay shortly after word spread of his co-star's incendiary comments.
"Katherine stood up for her close friend twice when Isaiah publicly outed him and called him [slur]. That’s hate talk, not free speech,” a source close to the actress told UsWeekly. “She is proud that she stood up for him. Katherine is and always will be an advocate and ally to LGBTQ community.”
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While his fellow alums have their own opinions about the way Washington was ushered off of the show more than a decade ago, homophobia wasn't exactly the catalyst for ending Knight's tenure on Grey's Anatomy in 2009 after the fifth season. The actor has since come to peace with the way his time of Grey's Anatomy wrapped, which can largely be attributed to creative differences with showrunner Rhimes. Even though George O'Malley's death is widely considered one of the most traumatic occurrences in the show's history, Knight was more than happy to wrap up his character's story in with a bang.
"There just comes a time when it’s so clear that moving on is the best decision,” he told EW in 2009. "In the end, I need to be fulfilled in my work.”
Water under the bridge — for everyone but Washington, I guess.

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