Posted June 8, 2007 – Seems Dr. Preston Burke packed his bags on the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" for good reason. The serious surgeon, played by Isaiah Washington, will not return to the hit medical drama, solidifying what many critics suspected.
After Washington's use of an anti-gay slur twice, ruffling the feathers of some cast members, the network and gay rights activists, ABC made the decision not to renew the actor's contract.
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"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore," Washington reportedly said in a statement released through his publicist, Howard Bragman.
The furor began after Washington uttered the f-word at the Golden Globe Awards in January while denying he'd used it previously on the set against cast mate T.R. Knight, who is gay.
Gay rights groups and cast member Katherine Heigl, who publicly denounced Washington, were among his most vocal critics.
"This is something that will have changed the scope of his life," Heigl told Entertainment Weekly last month. Washington was "sorry and embarrassed" for the mistake, she said.
Washington attempted to bring peace to the situation. He met with officials from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, sought counseling and filmed a public service announcement in which he said "words have power" to hurt or heal.
All seemed to fine until the May finale when Washington's character stopped his impending marriage to Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), then cleared out his belongings from their apartment. Because his contract was still under negotiation, some wondered if he was ousted. Now he is.
In May, Bragman said the actor intended to spend the summer working and not worrying about the show. Washington intended to continue his charity work in Sierra Leone, which a DNA test showed to be his ancestral home, and work on an independent movie.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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