- Isaiah Washington spoke about his former “Grey’s Anatomy” costars on “The Tavis Smiley Show.”
- Washington called Patrick Dempsey, who played McDreamy on the medical drama, “a total tyrant.”
- He said Ellen Pompeo took “hush money” to keep quiet about Dempsey’s “toxic and nasty” behavior.
Isaiah Washington said the “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo accepted “$5 million dollars under the table” to keep quiet and “not tell the world how toxic and nasty Patrick Dempsey really was” on set.
During an interview on Tavis Smiley’s radio show on October 21, Washington said Dempsey “was not a nice guy from day one.” He also referred to Dempsey as “a total tyrant” who had a reputation for being “pilot poison,” meaning an actor who represents a liability to getting a show picked up for a series.
Washington said Pompeo took “hush money” from unnamed parties around the time that the #MeToo movement was first making headlines before she signed a $20 million contract to continue on “Grey’s Anatomy” and become the highest-paid woman on television.
The #MeToo hashtag went viral in 2017, largely inspired by reports about the now convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein from The New York Times and The New Yorker. Many women in Hollywood made sexual-abuse allegations and described other gender-specific disparities.
Pompeo signed her new contract with ABC “in late 2017,” according to her January 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“And you want to run around here like you are the keeper of all feminine women and the feminist movement,” Washington said, referring to Pompeo.
The “P-Valley” actor said that he never felt supported on the set of the medical drama because he “was never wanted there.”
“Every single day I was a problem that was being reminded, ‘You’re No. 4 on the call sheet,'” he continued.
Washington claimed that around the time he exited “Grey’s Anatomy,” his own behavior on set was being used to cover up Dempsey’s.
Washington was at the center of one of the first controversies on the set of ABC’s long-running medical drama when he used a homophobic slur to refer to costar T.R. Knight during a fight with Dempsey, according to multiple witnesses of the incident. Washington issued a statement of apology for his actions to People in 2006 and was later fired from the show the following year.
Insider reached out to reps for Pompeo and Dempsey, but didn’t immediately hear back.
Dempsey’s behavior on set was not ‘McDreamy,’ says a former ‘Grey’s’ executive producer
In the recently released tell-all book about the medical drama, “How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy” by Entertainment Weekly’s editor-at-large Lynette Rice, former “Grey’s” executive producer James D. Parriott said similar comments about Dempsey’s behavior, saying the actor was often “terrorizing the set.”
“Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him,” Parriott continued. “He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people.”
Dempsey has never directly commented about any allegations regarding his behavior on set. In his 2015 “Grey’s Anatomy” exit interview with Rice, he only said that leaving the show “unfolded in a very organic way” although he did admit that, “it happened very quickly.”
In November 2014, Dempsey went on a “hiatus” from the show for six episodes for reasons he didn’t explain to Rice.
“They tried to keep it secret as best they could,” was all he said.
Dempsey did reveal that his erratic hours were hard on his family.
“It’s 10 months, 15 hours a day. You never know your schedule, so your kid asks you, ‘What are you doing on Monday?’ and you go, ‘I don’t know,’ because I don’t know my schedule,'” he said. “Doing that for 11 years is challenging … What I would like to do is focus on not being spread so thin.”
The next episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursday, November 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.