Anyone was watches Grey's Anatomy remembers how much they loved Dr. Preston Burke. Watching him and Cristina Yang navigate life together and help each other grow was refreshing. They may not have been a perfect couple, but they stuck together through thick and thin in order to make their relationship work.
Yang and Burke were a power couple on television and showed us what it takes to make something work. When they finally got engaged, I was thrilled that they were going to get their happy ending. Yang needed someone who she could let her guard down for, and Burke was just the guy. That is, of course, until he left her at the altar and fled town because he got cold feet. RUDE.
Everyone was confused as to why such an integral character was written off the show, especially since Burke was such a big part of Yang's life. Then it came out that there was more to his departure than we originally thought. Isaiah Washington, who played Burke, was allegedly causing a lot of problems behind the scenes. He apparently called T.R. Knight (who played George O'Malley) a homophobic slur, which prompted Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd) to punch Washington. This led to a huge brawl and Washington was written off the show.
We did get to see him one last time on Grey's before Yang left, and it gave us a little bit of closure. No one spoke about the real reason Washington left, and everyone was buying the rumors about a fight on set. But now the actor is speaking out about his departure, and he says it's all about racism.
In an interview with TMZ, Washington said that it was a racist executive at ABC that lead to his firing, and that creator Shonda Rhimes knew all about it.
"I just had an hour long conversation with Shonda Rhimes and she said, and I quote, she has really nothing good to say about ABC or Howard Davine, and his racist, biased behavior," Washington told TMZ.
"She thinks, like 'Time's Up', he needs to be investigated," Washington continued. "I'm hoping the ACLU, Time's Up, I'm hoping the civil rights people go after Howard Davine. I would never even know who he was until this whistleblower brought him to my attention. How dare he speak ill of me when I have been able to carve out a minute sense of working after he made the decision to throw me under the bus, according to one of his employees."
The allegations are pretty severe, in more ways than one. First off, Washington is essentially claiming that the only reason he was fired was because of his race. The rumors about his departure from Grey's more or less blacklisted him in Hollywood, as no one wanted to hire someone who was so controversial. If it's in fact true that it was all Davine's doing, it could have ruined Washington's career.
Second, Shonda Rhimes is a massive content creator for ABC, with shows like Grey's Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal, Station 19, The Catch, and her most recent show, For The People. For her to speak out against the network and one of their executives could be a hint as to why she chose to leave the network. It was announced late last year that Rhimes would be parting ways with ABC in order to sign a creator deal with Netflix. The decision seemed odd considering how successful her shows had been in the past, but this could shed light as to why the producer, creator, director, and writer of some of the most successful television shows decided to call it quits.
Washington stood his ground on his opinion about Davine, but Rhimes has yet to comment on the allegations.