Ellen Pompeo may be backing up former Grey's Anatomy co-star Katherine Heigl following Isaiah Washington's calling the actress "the first Karen" in a Twitter rant Monday. Sharing a GIF Thursday of Heigl's character, Izzie Stevens, telling her character, Meredith Grey, "Dude, she went all cage fight on you!" ahead of the new Grey's episode, Pompeo tweeted, "Hey it's Grey's day!!!"
The tweet came just three days after Washington, who played Preston Burke on the ABC show, tweeted about his longtime feud with Heigl after she condemned his use of a homophobic slur back in 2006 while in an argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey.
Hey it’s Grey’s day!!! pic.twitter.com/nGwAnmojPP— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) November 20, 2020
"This woman once proclaimed that I should 'never' be allowed to speak publicly again," he wrote alongside a picture of Heigl. "The world agreed with her proclamation back then and protested for my job and my head in 65 languages. I wish I was on Twitter in 2007 because I will NEVER stop exercising my free speech."
While Washington initially denied using the slur in 2006 after reports surfaced of his behavior, he admitted a month after he was confirmed in June 2007 not to be returning to Grey's Anatomy's fifth season that he did say the offensive word during an interview on Larry King Live. "I said, 'I don't need Ellen, I can act,'" he said at the time. "And that was the moment that sent it into a different zone. [Dempsey] became unhinged, sprayed spittle in my face. … I said several bad words. 'There's no way you're going to treat me like the B-word, the P-word or the F-word.' … I am not homophobic — in no way, shape or form."
Before he admitted to using the slur, actor T.R. Knight, who played George O'Malley, said in January 2007 that Washington's use of the word encouraged him to come out as gay. Heigl said at the time in an interview with Access Hollywood that Washington "needs to just not speak in public, period." Knight would leave the medical drama in 2009 after Season 5, and Heigl made her exit a year later in 2010.
A source told Us Weekly Monday that Heigl doesn't regret defending Knight. "Katherine stood up for her close friend twice when Isaiah publicly outed him and called him a f—t," the insider said. "That's hate talk, not free speech. She is proud that she stood up for him. Katherine is and always will be an advocate and ally to the LGBTQ community."