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The Grey's Anatomy Antigay Slur Controversy Outted T.R. Knight to His Family

The Grey's Anatomy Antigay Slur Controversy Outted T.R. Knight to His Family


The actor's family didn't even know he was gay until the infamous incident with co-star Isaiah Washington went public.

All these years later, and there are still more and more details coming out about the now-infamous antigay slur scandal that rocked the cast of ABC's long-running medical drama series Grey's Anatomy.

For those not familiar with the story or who need a refresher (we don't blame you, it's been a while), back in 2006, actor Isaiah Washington (who played Dr. Preston Burke on Grey's) referred to his gay co-star T.R. Knight (who played Dr. George O'Malley and who came out publicly to People following the scandal) the antigay f-word slur during an on-set argument he had with Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd). After that argument was leaked to the press, it became massive news, and the fallout was swift, with Washington releasing a public apology for the incident and then being fired from the show after the third season wrapped in 2007.


The original cast of Grey's Anatomy. (Courtesy of ABC)

At the time, Knight, who is now currently married to his husband Patrick B. Leahy, was not out to his family, and the news of the Washington and Dempsey's on-set argument actually, in effect, outted him to those closest to him in his life.

"We all felt horrible for T.R. because he had not come out to his family at that point," former Grey's writer Harry Werksman said about the entire debacle, which is chronicled in the book How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomyfrom Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice. "That was the way the news got delivered, and there was a feeling like, 'Oh my God, I can't imagine a worse way for that news to get to your family.'"

Luckily, Grey's has come a long way since that infamous incident, becoming ABC's longest-running scripted primetime TV show (it was just renewed and returned for an 18th season earlier this year) and filled with lots of positive LGBTQ+ representation, with Knight even returning to the role of George O'Malley in a guest spot on the show's 17th season late last year.

RELATED | Jake Borelli Thought Coming Out Would End His Career -- He Was Wrong

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