To: Kevin Brockman, Senior Vice President of Communications, Disney-ABC Television Group
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521
Shonda Rhimes, Grey's Anatomy Executive Producer
Grey's Anatomy Production Office; 4151 Prospect Ave.; Los Angeles, CA 90027
Isaiah Washington; Grey's Anatomy Production Office; 4151 Prospect Ave.; Los Angeles, CA 90027
January 30, 2007
We are writing to you regarding the recent anti-gay slur Isaiah Washington used referring to T.R. Knight.
We write to you as the mothers of two teenage sons who were beaten in homophobic assaults. At seventeen in 1995 Bill Clayton, who was openly bisexual, committed suicide in Olympia, Washington shortly after an assault by four young men based on his sexual orientation. In December 1996 sixteen-year-old William Wagner was assaulted in a gay bashing by six young men on a high school lunch break in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
We understand all too well the damage that hate speech does. It creates a climate of intolerance where people like the youths who beat our children see them as less than human and believe there is nothing wrong with assaulting them. We have supported other families whose children and loved ones have been murdered by people who also believed they were doing nothing wrong when they directed their hate violently at others including those who were lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or who were perceived to be.
We understand that Mr. Washington has apologized and may be going to counseling. We have heard that he has met with GLAAD and GLSEN.
We are aware that some people have called for Mr. Washington to lose his job. We are not asking for that. In the long run that will not do anything to repair the damage he has done, and we believe it will be letting him off of his responsibility too easily.
We believe that Mr. Washington is in a position of great responsibility because he is a public figure and a role model. We would like to see him make a lifetime commitment to help end the prejudice and ignorance which leads to hate speech, bashings and murder against our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender loved ones.
We understand he will have a learning curve in order to do this as we all do, but we know that he will not have to do it alone. There are many wonderful people who will be willing to stand with him if he is willing to sincerely make this journey. We will be glad to help him if he chooses to contact us.
cc: Neil G. Giuliano, President, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
248 West 35th Street, 8th Floor; New York, NY 10001
Kevin Jennings, Executive Director, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
90 Broad Street - 2nd Floor; New York, New York 10004
Rosie O'Donnell ~ The View; 320 W. 66th St. New York, NY 10023
Ellen DeGeneres ~ The Ellen DeGeneres Show; P.O. Box 7788; Burbank, CA 91523
~ Seattle Gay News; 1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31; Seattle, WA 98122
FAMILIES UNITED AGAINST HATE (FUAH) is a nonprofit grassroots organization created by and for families and survivors of hate motivated violence, in collaboration with other individuals and organizations. We offer support, guidance and assistance to families* and individuals dealing with incidents based on bias; and to the people, organizations and agencies who serve and support them.