Anatomy of a Controversy: Two Petitions Online

At press time, an online petition asking ABC to fire Isaiah Washington (Dr. Preston Burke)
from the cast of ABC's top show, Grey's Anatomy, had dropped off the top 10 list of most active petitions on It sits at  number 15 with with 20,531 signatures.

Citing repeated anti-gay slurs allegedly slung by the actor at gay co-star T.R. Knight
(Dr. George O'Malley), the petition said "If you want Isaiah Washington off Grey’s Anatomy and replaced
by an actor who will actually appreciate being on a successful show sign this petition."

Meanwhile, number three on the same list of active petitions–which means ones with the most recent signatures added–was "Keep Isaiah Washington on Grey's Anatomy." "He’s a good person with a good heart who made a mistake and is worthy of forgiveness," read the petition. "If you want Isaiah Washington to stay on Grey’s Anatomy please sign this petition."

Though the pro-Isaiah petition had only 6,415 signatures on January 25th that was 2,440 signatures more than when we first checked signatures two days before, while the ouster petition had only added 687 signatures over the same stretch and had dropped from ninth most active to 15th.

Washington has sought counseling rather than face getting booted from the goldmine ABC
show, a move that got the blessing of Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhymes and of the Gay
and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which said it met with him last week.

If he stays, here's an idea: How about a sweeps episode with Washington operating on guest
stars Michael Richards and Mel Gibson, who have managed to get their feet inextricably
wedged in their mouths?

By John Eggerton