Alex Blaze

Isaiah Washington to do GLSEN PSA

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 03, 2007 10:33 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: GLSEN, Isaiah Washington, John Mayer, Paris Hilton, Perez Hilton

From the AP, via the Huffington Post:

Isaiah Washington, who came under fire after using an anti-gay slur, will appear in a public service announcement on behalf of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.[...]

Washington ran into trouble at the Golden Globe Awards in January after he used an anti-gay slur during a backstage press conference while denying he'd used it previously against "Grey's Anatomy" castmate T.R. Knight.

People magazine reported last October that Washington had allegedly used the slur during an on-set dustup with co-star Patrick Dempsey.

I'm glad that he's doing this. Really.

My only problem is that I've been tired of this story since January. Isaiah isn't a repeat offender like Ann Coulter or Don Imus. He's not constantly spewing this language, he's not donating money to Republicans, he's saying that we're out to destroy the family. He even played a convincing gay character on Spike Lee's Get on the Bus, about whom Keith Boykin had this to say:

Despite his politics, though, Washington's character is neither a sellout nor a closet case. In one scene we see him reading James Earl Hardy's popular black gay novel, B-Boy Blues; in another he explains, "White women still clutch their purses when I walk down the street." In a third he stands by his man, invoking James Baldwin and other black gay heroes as he defends his ex-lover from attack. Someone obviously drew on firsthand experience in creating these authentic depictions of black gay men.
What really bothers me is how To Kill a Mockingbird the whole thing turned.

Perez Hilton passed around a petition to get him fired. John Mayer said that Washington ought to be forced to play a gay character (which was pretty asinine considering he had already done that). Entertainment Weekly suggested that this incident reflected on all African Americans.

Compare that to the inaudible murmur after the 2005 LA Pride grand marshall used the n-word and the other f-word, both as insults, caught on video tape.

My theory is that the word faggot is in itself a form of assault, a threat of violence, and that was compounded with the already strong narrative of the Violent Black Male that inhabits the imaginations of white Americans, queer or straight, to become a very real threat to a large segment of this country's LGBT population.

I'm not saying that we didn't have a right to be hurt when he used that word. What I am saying is that it's time to let it go, well past time to let it go. The man apologized, and if we can't accept apologies, then we can't accept progress.

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I dunno, Alex. You are right he isn't as bad as Coulter et. al. However, he did apologize once, then stuck his foot in it again a couple months later.

I don't have a problem accepting apologies, I'm just not going to fall for insincere ones. Given his past record of apologies, I'll keep my jury out a bit longer.