Isaiah Was Offered Money Not to Take ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Audition
The 100 alum revealed that he was originally offered money not to audition for Grey’s Anatomy, which was the beginning of him feeling like he “was never wanted there.”
“I originally went in to be Derek Shepherd, a brain surgeon. I was paid $10,000 not to take the audition. Or do any television. I took the money,” Washington said.
The Texas native still auditioned for the role because at the time he wanted to play “the highest level of my intellect and build my brand.”
“I got called back, read with Ellen Pompeo. She made the executive decision [not to hire me] because she had a Black boyfriend, she didn’t feel comfortable,” he added. “Now she said that to me at catering once I was actually on the show as Dr. Burke. I was passed over, it was over.”
Pompeo previously addressed rumors that Washington was originally set to play her on screen love interest.
“You know they wanted Isaiah Washington to be my boyfriend,” the Old School actress, who was dating Chris Ivery at the time, told the New York Post in 2013. “Shonda really wanted to put a Black man in the mix. I didn’t think they were really going to put an interracial couple on the show and I didn’t want him. It was too close to home.”
Although he later joined the ABC series, Washington didn’t feel welcome from his first day on set.
“I was at a table read, Peter Horton, formally of Thirtysomething, came over and said, ‘I thought we got rid of you,'” the True Crime star recalled. “Patrick Dempsey walks in, didn’t think I could see him with the reflection, throws up his hands, like, ‘What is he doing here?’ That’s day one.”
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