Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington has apologised for again making homophobic remarks about his co-star T.R. Knight amid calls that he be fired from the hit television show.

ABC released a statement on behalf of Washington, following his comments in the press room at the Golden Globe Awards in which he denied having called Knight a “faggot” on the show’s set. The denial contradicted an earlier admission and apology for his actions.

In the statement, Washington says: “I apologise to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. By repeating the word Monday night, I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on Grey’s Anatomy. I can neither defend nor explain my behaviour. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.

I know the power of words, especially those that demean. I realise that by using one filled with disrespect I have hurt more than T.R. and my colleagues. With one word, I’ve hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted. I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologise in person and to talk about what I can do to heal the wounds I’ve opened.

T.R.’s courage throughout this entire episode speaks to his tremendous character. I hold his talent, and T.R. as a person, in high esteem. I know a mere apology will not end this, and I intend to let my future actions prove my sincerity.”

Knight came out as a gay man following reports in the press of an on-set scuffle in which Washington first called him “a faggot”.

Washington’s comments at the Golden Globes prompted ABC – the television network behind Grey’s Anatomy – to also issue their own statement which read: “We are greatly dismayed that Mr. Washington chose to use such inappropriate language at the Golden Globes, language that he himself deemed ‘unfortunate’ in his public apology issued at the time of the original incident. We have a long-standing policy to create and maintain respectful workplaces for all our employees, and his actions are being addressed.”

While there have been an increasing number of calls for Washington to be fired, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which monitors and lobbies against homophobia in the US media, was more conciliatory.

GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano responded favourably to the new apology saying that, “We are encouraged by Isaiah Washington’s statement today, and optimistic that it may mark a turning point in this deeply troubling situation. His acknowledgement of his actions – and of the hurt and harm his actions have caused – is an important first step toward healing his relationships with his castmates, his fans, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”

He added that, “Mr. Washington has scheduled a meeting with us for early next week, and we look forward to exploring opportunities for moving forward together and healing some of the wounds of the past four months.”

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