Of course, Isaiah Washington acted like a horse’s ass. But it’s amazing to me that he has been fired from Grey’s Anatomy by its producers at ABC Television Studios when the network itself doesn’t have clean hands on the issue of storylines about homosexuality. I’ll go ahead and make the accusation: ABC Entertainment regularly airs programming that is anti-gay. I am specifically referring to the network’s recent plots portraying non-heterosexual men as serial killers or accused multimurderers or suspected deviants on its three daytime soap operas. There is no way that this can be called a positive or even neutral depiction of gay or transgender male characters. I’ve held back reporting this because I first wanted to see what long-term consequences Washington’s use of an anti-guy slur, and then attempt to cover it up, would have on his future with the show. (Grey’s Anatomy is owned by ABC Television Studios which is a division of ABC which is a division of Walt Disney.)
Once upon a time, soap operas in general, and ABC’s in particular, were leaders in advancing public knowledge about social issues (rape, mental illness, racism, abortion, illiteracy, gang violence, etc). Regarding homosexuality, Erica Kane’s daughter Bianca on ABC’s All My Children in 2000 declared herself a lesbian and from then on became the moral compass of the show. And, indeed, lesbians on soap opera do seem to get more positive portrayals. Nor is it unusual on soaps to see gay characters anguish because of their sexuality.
But, in 2005, ABC’s One Life To Live began airing a long and central storyline in which Daniel Colson, who’s the local District Attorney and a married man, becomes a vicious serial killer to keep his homosexuality secret from his family and colleagues. The plot aired little more than a month after the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) honored the soap for its “fair, accurate and inclusive work in 2004.” Also in 2005, gay college student Lucas Jones on ABC’s General Hospital is a principal suspect when two Port Charles teen girls are slipped the date rape drug. More recently, beginning in 2006 until the storyline just ended, an androgynous male rock star on ABC’s All My Children is thought for weeks to be Pine Valley’s homicidal maniac responsible for corpse after corpse. At the time of this character’s introduction, GLAAD told the media that showing his transition from male (Zarf) to female (Zoe) was groundbreaking TV. But that was well before the plot began to show itself, and Zarf is nearly lynched for the murders. The inference in all three examples was that non-heterosexual males are prone to criminal behavior. Given that, l don’t know how ABC can pretend to lead by example.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.