Skip to main content

Coming Out as Homophobic: Isaiah Washington and the Grey's Anatomy Scandal

Buy Article:

$53.17 plus tax (Refund Policy)


In late 2006 and early 2007, a high-profile celebrity scandal developed around Isaiah Washington's use of an anti-gay slur to describe his co-star T. R. Knight. The mainstream media coverage of this scandal positioned homophobia primarily in therapeutic and confessional terms, echoing the typical treatment of a celebrity's coming out. As the “angry black man,” Washington failed to satisfy the criteria for neoliberal citizenship and seemed to confirm white culture's fears about black masculinity. Knight, in contrast, emerged as a successful neoliberal citizen whose “difference” was safely contained. The debate thus shifted from the morality of homophobia to the morality and psychological health of the individual, determined through Washington's failed performance of honesty and Knight's successful one. As a result, heteronormativity and white privilege remained largely unnoticed within mainstream coverage of the scandal.

Keywords: Hate Speech; Homophobia; Neoliberalism; Race; Sexuality

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-03-01

  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more