Thursday, May 3, 2007

Isaiah Washington Announces PSA With GLAAD and GLSEN

A litany of celebrities continue to partake in that all too predictable cycle of using racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic slurs, quickly apologizing for their offensive comments and doing damage control to deflect attention away from any potential damage the backlash may have done to their carefully choreographed careers. Grey's Anatomy's co-star Isaiah Washington is among these public figures.

He sparked outrage earlier this year among the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and other LGBT activists and organizations with his use of a homophobic slur during an interview with reporters after the Golden Globes. Washington quickly apologized for the slur. He met with GLAAD President Neil Giuliano and GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings and soon afterwards announced he had entered a treatment facility to rectify his own homophobia. Many activists remained highly skeptical of what they perceived to be a high-profile PR campaign designed to deflect attention away from Washington's perceived homophobia. But his publicist's announcement yesterday the actor will appear in a PSA with GLAAD and GLSEN could begin to change these perceptions.

This blogger remains highly skeptical of PR campaigns and the repeated attempts at damage control in which high profile figures continue to engage. Washington's announcement, however, comes as a hopeful development he took the criticism from earlier this year to heart. It remains to be seen whether the actor will stay true to this apparent new found course. But his recent announcement remains a positive step forward.

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