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ABC Suffers From Promophobia

5/8/2008 4:05 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

ABC had no problem throwing Isaiah Washington under the bus when "Grey's Anatomy" was doing big ratings -- and they have no problem using him in promos now that the show is in a ratings freefall.


Promos for this week's episode feature Isaiah's mug -- and his character is even part of the storyline this week. One problem -- he ain't in it! Isaiah is actually down in New Orleans shooting a new movie with Forest Whitaker.

We're told Isaiah is pissed at the show for using his pic, after they 86'd him from the show because of that whole despicable "faggot" thing.

Isaiah's rep, Howard Bragman, tells TMZ, "Isaiah has no plans to go back to 'Grey's Anatomy' ... That being said, we were more than a little surprised that ABC used his likeness in a promo for the show, and indeed advanced his character's storyline. Mr. Washington's attorney has contacted the Screen Actors Guild and ABC as to the appropriateness of that action."

A rep for ABC could not be reached for comment.

52 COMMENTS

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31.

Jackiemichele    

Saying a derogatory comment once does not equal a hostile work environment. That is like trying to get some poor guy fired for sexual harassment when he only asked you out once. I believe ABC went overboard with this issue because they wanted to be PC about the whole thing.

Having said that, I agree that this never should have been made public. This is something that should have been taken care of quietly (i.e. suspension without pay) instead of broad casted all over the tabloids. Unfortunately, it is coming back to bite ABC in the ass through their ratings.

2275 days ago
32.

tsmith    

Grey's has sucked since the departure of Isaiah and Kate Walsh and I think using Isaiah's charachter to boost their lagging ratings is LOW. Isaiah should get paid; Derek and Mer should GO AWAY and ABC should bring Isaiah and Kate back.

2275 days ago
33.

Chaz    

Yo u people who say they cannot use his likeness are most likely wrong. It was probably in his contract that they could use it for a certain amount of time. The fact that he was fired for insubordination was his own fault thus that stipulation still holds.

2275 days ago
34.

tammy    

I loved Isiah on Grey's. He has every right to be mad as hell about what ABC did to him. I like Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo. I wish Isiah all the luck with his movie roles.

2275 days ago
35.

lee    

never watched the show but it sure is phony that they fire Isaiah.

ABC will be the first to welcome Michael Vick to do any program they have.- they dont want little mistakes
they are waiting for the big boy. Just like Oprah - its ratings.

2275 days ago
36.

Deanne    

Oh please! ABC owns the character of Burke so have every right to use that. And if the ratings are down, it is because of the writers' strike, people have to get used to it being on again. I saw it tonight and it was a Great episode!

2275 days ago
37.

just me    

Count me in as another who LOVED the show! When they fired Isaiah the show went quickly to boring and uninteresting. Burke and Christina were the strongest most believable characters on the show. The show is now crap! I can't stand George and Izzy and hated the storyline of them and the breakup of his marriage. I wish Isaiah the best of luck. He apologized over and over and should NEVER have been fired. I'm sure we've all said something in the heat of the moment we really wish we could take back.

2275 days ago
38.

melanie    

yay for isaiah! that's KARMA people, ABC screwed him and now it's all coming back to them... i agree that he shouldn't have called his fellow actor a f***ot, but why fire him? he was great in the show, maybe they could have made his part smaller or let him dissappear for a season as punishment, i don't know! but it's outrageous that after they dragged him through mud abc stamps his face just to get people thinking that the actor playing dr.burke might return... pathetic!

2275 days ago
39.

EAGLE    

HAVING WATCHED THIS SHOW(GREY'S ANATOMY) FROM THE BEGINNING AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF DR. BURKE'S CHARACTER, I FIND THE THE SHOW NOW IS LACKING IN STRONG CHARACTERS. CHRISTINA DID NOT EVEN GREIVE A LITTLE, FOR THE MAN SHE SUPPOSEDLY LOVED. MERIDITH CANNOT MAKE UP HER MIND ON ANYTHING, AND I FIND THE STORYLINE NOT COMPELLING AT ALL. WHILE I AGREE THAT A STATEMENT HAD TO BE MADE BY THE SHOW'S PRODUCER, HOWEVER,WHEN A CHARACTER HAS BECOME SO ENTRENCHED IN THE SHOW, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO MOVE ON SUCCESSFULLY. MAYBE THE MOVE IS TO GRACIOUOSLY AND GRADUALLY MOVE DR. BURKE CHARACTER BACK INTO THE STORYLINE BY HAVING HIM CONVERSE OVER THE PHONE PERIODICALLY WITH DR. HAHN, REGARDING SURGERY ISSUES. THUS, GIVING THE SHOW A LIFT

2275 days ago
40.

Alanna    

"They might own the character, but no way to they own Isaiah's likeness."

Actually, they do. They can use pictures of him that were taken during his tenure on "GA" any way they would like as they own those pictures as well. The photo is of him in character, and they own the character. Arguing that would be tantamount to saying that they can't show re-runs of any episode with him in it because those re-runs would contain his likeness. Isaiah is well aware of this as well as well aware of the releases he has signed.

2275 days ago
41.

Spell Check.    

Just a bunch of promosexuals!

2275 days ago
42.

frank farrell    

I know one thig that georgie tj knight character is the most pathetic on tv. He seems so wimpyand poor acting at that. I'm not saying that because he's homosexual. I'm saying it because its fact. Washington acted better than knight on the show. To me its not believable that hes with many of the female charaters with that david archleta mannerisms. They got rid of the wrong acter and thats why the show sucks.

2275 days ago
43.

rugguer    

I FIND IT IRONIC TO READ PEOPLES VIEWS ON THIS SUBJECT AND THE TOTAL IGNORANCE FOR HIS ACTIONS, FUNNY THOUGH IF THE N WORD GOT USED WOULD ALL THESE COMMENTATORS NOT BE UPSET, ITS THE OLD TWO STANCE, RIGHT, WHATEVER ITS ONLY A F, REGARDLESS HE SAID IT AND SAID AGAIN AND SAID IT AGAIN, SO WHY SHOULD HE NOT BE PENALIZED LIKE ANYONE ELSE WHO WOULD USE ANY WORD THAT IS SAID WITH HATE DEGREGATION TO OTHERS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE WHEN THEY DO NOT REALISE THE WORLD IS FULL OF HATE AND IGNORANCE AND YOU ARE ADDING MORE TO IT.

2275 days ago
44.

Harlow M.    

I am one of the three people who still watch this show. At this point it's just out of routine for me, so I do agree that it's been sucking lately.

I thought last nights episode featuring "Dr. Burke" was HILARIOUS! and a HUGE JAB at Isaiah having his picture featured on an episode with the main story line being about two gay guys and the hint at a lesbian affair going on. STAB, STAB, JAB, JAB!!

2274 days ago
45.

B Scott    

Isaiah should sue ABC!

2274 days ago
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