I’ve been blogging about Isaiah-gate since last October, and I’ve got to admit it: last night’s announcement that Isaiah Washington won’t be returning to Grey’s Anatomy next season has me feeling, well, not much of anything. Mostly, I’m exhausted from reading, thinking, and talking about the whole behind-the-scenes mess. Sure, on some level, this kerfuffle and its fallout raise important and interesting questions: What kind of language and behavior in the workplace crosses the line from unacceptable to fire-able? (I’ve tried to imagine how uncomfortable I’d feel working along someone who dropped an enraged ‘f*****’ bomb in my direction during a physical altercation with a third party.) For us consumers of pop culture, at what point does a celebrity’s off-camera behavior get in the way of our ability to enjoy and appreciate his or her work? (Being completely honest, I’ve not only remained a faithful Grey’s viewer for the past season, but one who’s been fully invested in Washington’s Burke-Cristina storyline.) Where does Washington’s alleged bad act fall on the scale of Mel Gibson’s sexist, anti-Semitic rant and Paris Hilton’s DUI arrest — and in that context, does his subsequent punishment seem fitting?
Washington certainly hasn’t helped his own case, given the sluggishness of his public apology, his second use of ‘f*****’ at the Golden Globe awards, his lackluster PSA, and especially the statement his publicist issued last night (a quote from the 1976 film Network): “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Seriously? I mean, why didn’t someone on Washington’s team dissuade him from releasing such a loopy parting shot? And does he really think that now is the time to choose defiance over contrition? Anyhow, I’ve blogged my last about this brouhaha, so I pass the podium to you, PopWatchers, to have the final word.