EPISODE 31   |   JULY 6, 2019
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EPISODE 31   |   JULY 6, 2019
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Red Pilled America is designed to be listened to, not read. Please reference and use the audio version for exact quotes.
Patrick Courrielche: In life, nothing is certain except death, taxes, and claims of racism in America.
Celebrities, media personalities, and big time athletes all seem to see racism at every turn – and they claim to witness it almost exclusively on the Right. With all of this talk of racism and white supremacy, it got me to thinking…does racism really exist in America?
I’m Patrick Courrielche and this is Red Pilled America….a storytelling show. This is not another talk show covering the day’s news. We are all about telling stories. Stories Hollywood doesn’t want you to hear. Stories the media mocks. Stories from everyday Americans that the elites ignore. You can think of Red Pilled America as audio documentaries and we promise only one thing…the truth.
Welcome to Red Pilled America.
Patrick Courrielche: Does racism really exist in America? It’s a question that most on the Right cringe at when hearing. “America elected Barack Obama, twice,” is a popular response. We all see the mega success stories of Black Americans sprinkled in the media, Hollywood, and business sections of the news. Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Don Lemon, Jay-Z, Lebron James, Robert L. Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kanye. These examples prove racism is a thing of the past, is a standard belief in right-wing, conservative, and MAGA enclaves all across America. But is that true?
To find the answer, we are going to follow the life of a prolific actor. An African-American man that has seen a side of our society that very few have witnessed. A view on how our country works that people of all shades needs to hear if we are ever to recover from America’s original sin.
Patrick Courrielche: If you’re a Trump supporter and have spent some time on social media over the past few months, you may have seen Isaiah Washington entering your feed. The prolific actor and film producer has been on the big and little screen for nearly three decades, but few would have predicted him entering the conscience of the MAGA movement.
Whether it’s his support of the #WalkAway campaign – a movement encouraging people to leave the Democrat party, or his backing of the First Step Act, legislation President Trump signed to reform the federal prison system, Isaiah Washington has been aligned with these efforts at a time in Hollywood where it is not only taboo, but it’s considered career suicide to be attached to anything associated with Trump.
But if you’ve been watching Isaiah for as long as I have, from his early roles in Spike Lee joints, to his breakout mainstream role as Dr. Preston Burke in one of the top TV series of all-time, Grey’s Anatomy, his recent efforts won’t come as a surprise.
Isaiah may have reached the pinnacle of the entertainment industry, but as a child in the Lone Star State, he didn’t start anywhere near the top.
Isaiah Washington: I lived with my grandmother in Houston, Texas.
Patrick Courrielche: That’s Isaiah.
Isaiah Washington: Throughout most of the 70s my mom worked several jobs as a domestic. My grandmother was a domestic for a Jewish family at the time.
We were poor…but I didn't know we were poor. I played a lot in the St. Augustine grass and a shotgun house on cinder blocks.
Patrick Courrielche: A shotgun house is a rectangular, narrow-style home design, typically no more than maybe twelve feet wide. They originated in the South and began popping up after the American Civil War. The term “shotgun” is thought to reference the fact that a shotgun blast aimed directly into the front door could travel all the way through the house and out of the back door without hitting anything.
Isaiah Washington: Had a lot of fun crawling through what I now know is a scallions that I cook with almost every other week that was supposed to fend off the dogs the smell that was supposed to keep the dogs from going under the house and procreating loudly.
Patrick Courrielche: He used to pull the scallions and cook over a campfire in his backyard.
Isaiah Washington: I was always surrounded by wooded areas…
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah remembers that there were a lot of shortcuts that could be taken through these undeveloped areas of Houston to get to a local barbeque shack or liquor store…but they’d only be used by the brave.
Isaiah Washington: But I've always been exposed to wooded areas. I've always been on a path that seemed like it was taken by those who dared to take it.
Patrick Courrielche: He had two sisters that were five years older, no brothers, and often found himself playing alone. Many of his cousins were jealous because they thought, relatively speaking, that he sounded like a white person.
Isaiah Washington: I listen to my voice when I was in college. Nineteen eighty-seven an outgoing message I couldn’t understand a word I was saying. So I was like how do I sound like white person but just let you know the level of the socio economic level that my family endured.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah wrote in his inspiring autobiography A Man From Another Land that his biological father physically abused his mother, and so when Isaiah was three years old she left his father. At thirteen, Isaiah’s father was killed, a fact that he learned about in a way that would never make it into a script of a movie because it would have sounded unbelievable. I’ll leave the details of that to those compelled to buy his book.
At a young age Isaiah remembers a lot of men around him wearing military uniforms. He now knows that they were people coming home from the Vietnam War.
Isaiah Washington: At that was during the time you know Houston there was really only three things really you could do. You could join the military or end up in prison or join the post office. And I wasn't according to my grandmother I wasn't destined to do any of those I was destine to go to college ad that’s how I was groomed.
Patrick Courrielche: His family saw something different in him. Something that could take him down a path that no one from his circle had ever travelled.
Isaiah had a close relationship with his grandmother – who he affectionately called Muh’ Dear.
Isaiah Washington: I was slightly afraid of my grandmother. I loved her dearly but I was also intimidated by her.
Patrick Courrielche: She was the matriarch of the family and taught him a valuable lesson that he carried throughout his life.
Today, Isaiah is not a small man. He’s over six feet tall, and played football in his teens. But when he was in elementary school, he was skinny…and was constantly bullied.
Isaiah Washington: I got bullied usually by large girls, strangely enough
Patrick Courrielche: Most men can remember that vulnerable age as a boy when girls, even ones their own age, were much bigger and stronger than them. That was the Frazier Girls – a pair of neighborhood sisters, light-skinned black girls that were two years older than Isaiah.
Around six years old, Isaiah had just started walking himself to school. Everyday, his mom would give him some change to buy a snack to go along with his lunch, and the Frazier Girls would without fail, take his coins and physically and mentally bully him along the way – shoving him to the ground, slinging slurs at him like “little black monkey” because of his dark skin compared to the other black kids in their neighborhood. And they’d also call him, well in this day an age I can’t say it out loud…so let’s just say they called him the f-word that rhymes with maggot. As kids from that era, that term wasn’t used as a gay slur…but rather as a label of weakness.
Isaiah Washington: I remember carrying a Hee Haw lunchbox, a big tin lunchbox. A lunch kit we used to call it. Had a little thermos inside it had themes, Beverly Hillbillies or Hee Haw was a popular TV show that my mom my grandmother loved to watch. And they got me after for school. One day I was chased home and my grandmother caught wind of it and saw me right through the gate with stairs up to the porch and she wouldn’t let me in the house.
And my nickname is Mickey. She said if you don't turn around and go back and fight stand your ground the first time I ever heard that term. I'm not letting you in this house. I’m begging pleading my grandmother I was like there's no way I'm going to hit these girls there's no way I'm going to fight anyone. I don’t care what they do to me, I’m just not gonna retaliate. There's no way. It just makes me sick to my stomach the thought of it. But I believed that my grandmother when she looked at me standing behind the screen door with those glasses. Her hair pulled back…she wasn’t gonna let me in that house until I defended myself. So I had to pick my grandmother over those bullies so I went out there and told them to stop chasing me hitting and taking my lunch money and give me my fifty cent back and they won't do it. Then they started using profanity outside of my grandmother's yard. And next thing I know they were laying on the ground.
Crying holding their heads my lunch kit was now dented, damaged and hanging open and all I remember is standing their holding onto the handle. As I swept them up went to their pockets got my quarter each from both their pockets. Got my fifty cent back and quietly walked back to the yard close the gate went upstairs. My grandmother had the door wide open. She shut it behind me..
Patrick Courrielche: Muh’ Dear played an influential role in Isaiah’s life as much for what she taught him, as for what she did not teach him.
Isaiah Washington: I can tell you stories about pain and injustice through my grandmother. But she never shared any stories about sitting on the back of the bus. Never heard one. She never shared those stories with us about segregation or drinking out of the watercooler for colored. Never got that Brother I didn't get any of that until I started looking at documentaries that way up into my 20s when I was right there in Houston, Texas in the thick of it. Never heard the N-word till I got to New York in my 20s. Never my grandmother never infected me with the racism that she clearly my grandfather clearly had to endure.
Patrick Courrielche: So even with the light-skinned Frazier sisters making fun of his skin tone, it never affected his confidence because of what his grandparents instilled him.
Isaiah Washington: And I never saw myself as different. I never saw myself as anything negative because of my skin color. That was the gift my grandmother my parents gave way.
I was I was allowed to be free in a system that clearly in the 70s late 60s and 70s were not designed for someone like me to be free in or feel free confident or that I could be anyone I could do anything. That's what I got from my grandmother and my grandfather.
Patrick Courrielche: It was a confidence that Isaiah has carried with him throughout key moments in his life.
As he grew older he grew stronger. And his mother grew stronger as well…leaving behind her domestic job.
Isaiah Washington: She became a barber in 1971 the first African-American woman to become a barber in the state of Texas because everybody was only allowed to become beauticians. It was unheard of. It was an unspoken word. There was no way a woman was gonna be cutting a man’s hair. So now in Jackson barbershop in Houston, Texas off Main Street is now a landmark.
My mom was I’m very proud to say it was very much a part of that legacy.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah went on to play football in high school with future hall of famer Thurman Thomas, and he expected to get into a top tier college – but the acceptance letters strangely never arrived. It was watching football with his stepfather, however, that would open his eyes to another pathway forward.
While checking out those games, commercials for the Air Force would pop up. Their slogan, Aim High, stood out to him…and he signed up for the Air Force after high school.
Isaiah Washington: I thought I was gonna become an astronaut I thought I was gonna become the next General Washington.
Patrick Courrielche: But Isaiah was a curious young man that asked too many questions for his rank and he eventually came to the conclusion that the military was not going to be his long-term calling.
Isaiah Washington: And at that point I figure it's time for me to get out. Then I did got married to somebody I was in the military it didn’t last very long. But the good thing about that, it brought me to the private sector.
Patrick Courrielche: He worked in Gaithersburg, Maryland as a logistician. But by the age of twenty-three, he was already having a midlife crisis. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life.
But then a voice entered his head, the same one he heard on his porch – trying to escape from the Frazier girls. And he would listen to that voice, and go down a new path that would change the trajectory of his life forever.
More after the break.
Adryana Cortez: Welcome back. I’m Adryana Cortez.
So in his early twenties, Isaiah was having a midlife crisis. He was living in Gaithersburg, Maryland and didn’t know what direction he wanted to go. And then he heard a voice that he’d hear often throughout his life.
Isaiah Washington: The thing that kept me going about my life at that time was my grandmother had this thing called not being a trifling negro. Not being someone that was going to be able to successfully achieve anything. And if you weren't going to achieve or you weren’t gonna be a straight A student you weren't going to win every game. Even though a lot of those things are not realistic you can't win everything but according to my grandmother you could if you worked hard enough you could always win. So that's pretty much the mindset that I had really from my grandmother. She gave me a lot of most would think men would give in terms of strength and fortitude and focus and never never end up being a trifling negro. That was like a curse. You know she put that label on you man I’ve seen her put a lot on my other cousin's male customers they ended up going to prison. You know out of prison. Man I can’t be considered a trifling negro. That was the worst pejorative you know coming from a Southern black Baptist woman in the 70s.
That’s the kiss of death.
Adryana Cortez: So he began to search for something else.
One night in 1986 his friend took him to see a movie by Spike Lee, called She’s Gotta Have It. The movie lit a spark within him. That’s what he wanted to do…act. Make art to change the world. He vowed that within ten years he’d be working with Spike Lee. His friends laughed.
Isaiah would eventually find himself in a gospel play.
Isaiah Washington: A gentleman named Malcolm said I have some talent as an actor and boom I was off to Howard University.
Adryana Cortez: Howard University is a private historically black university in Washington D.C., established in 1867.
Isaiah’s mind was opened for the first time to African-American history. But the college experience wasn’t at all what he was expecting. Even at an all Black campus of higher-education, his dark skin color came into play.
Isaiah Washington: I found out how black I was and how black I wasn't at Howard University. Somewhere in between fraternity wanted me to take a paper bag test and offered I was too dark to join a fraternity maybe I could become a Sigma…
Adryana Cortez: The brown paper bag test is a form of discrimination, referred to as colorism, practiced within the African-American community. Colorism is a phenomenon seen in many cultures where lighter skin is interpreted as a person having more wealth. In my Mexican heritage, many elders have associated dark skin with someone whose ancestors worked in the fields. In other words, they were poor. As a result, in a culture that practices colorism, light skin is desired. In the case that Isaiah is describing, if a person’s skin was darker than a brown paper bag, they were not considered for entry into various clubs where lighter skin tone was favored. The Sigmas were associated with people of darker skin…or lower social status.
Isaiah Washington: I didn't I took issue with that while I was at Howard and I said Well you know what, that's bullshit. One day I'm going to take these full lips full nose dark skin broad nose kinky hair and become one of the most formidable actors in the world. and just give me 10 years and I'll do it by nineteen ninety six.
Adryana Cortez: Even though he despised the caste system of Howard University, Isaiah learned a work ethic at the school, under the respected instructor Vera Katz, that he carries with him to this day.
After about a year, Isaiah ran out of money and couldn’t afford the tuition at Howard.
Isaiah Washington: I found myself sleeping in my car was refusing to go back home. My mom wanted me to come back home and get a job in the post office.
Adryana Cortez: But he didn’t want to give up on his dream. So he went to New York City instead, and picked up roles on Off Off Broadway – a sprinkling of stages outside of Manhattan’s mainstream venues. He was honing his craft by working in the theater.
In 1993, he got a big break – a role in Forest Whitaker’s directorial debut…an HBO movie called Strapped. Forest ended up sharing a draft cut of the movie with Spike Lee. Isaiah had a very small role in the film but his talent was so obvious that Spike Lee sought him out. Within a year, Isaiah reached a goal he’d been working towards…working with Spike Lee. The famed director cast him in his 1994 flick Crooklyn. Isaiah was on his way.
He began working steadily on the big screen. He appeared in Clockers, Dead Presidents, and Girl 6. Against the advice of almost everyone around him, in 1996 he played a gay man in another Spike Lee movie called Get on the Bus – at a time when it wasn’t cool for a black man to play a homosexual. In many enclaves within the African-American community, the gay lifestyle is still unaccepted to this day. So Isaiah taking on that role over two decades ago was a huge personal risk. He did it anyway.
His standout talent began to get noticed by mainstream Hollywood. He lined up roles on famed TV show Ally McBeal, box office hits Bulworth with Warren Beatty, Out of Sight with J. Lo and George Clooney, and True Crime based on a novel by Andrew Klavan and directed by Clint Eastwood. Isaiah was becoming a Hollywood staple – working with the biggest names in Tinseltown. But his breakthrough moment, one that would place him in tens of millions of homes every week, came in 2005 with his role as Dr. Preston Burke on Grey’s Anatomy – what would become one of the biggest drama series in TV history.
Isaiah had hit the big time. It was a remarkable feat for anyone let alone for a person that came from such meager means. A shotgun house in Houston, Texas. His father killed, and stepfather abusive. Teased and bullied by his peers for his dark skin color. He fought through that to become a high school football player and served his country. Then became the first in his family to attend college. Turned away from the fraternity of his choice because of his skin tone, and had to resort to living in his car. But he pulled himself up, eventually working with Spike Lee ahead of his own schedule. He became a staple first in black films and then in mainstream flicks. And he took a risk by playing a gay man when that lifestyle was shunned by his community. The young kid that endured all of that because of the voice of his grandmother Muh’ Dear in his ear – that kid was now a lead character on the top show in America…making millions of dollars a year.
As Isaiah began to settle into his role as Dr. Burke on Grey’s Anatomy, he started opening new doors.
He became more serious about exploring his African roots.
Throughout his life, whatever city Isaiah found himself in, people from Africa would ask him what part of the African continent he was from. It was a strange question. They didn’t inquire about what part of New York City, or what part of Texas, or what part of LA was his origin. They asked what region of Africa. Africans sensed something in Isaiah.
That stuck with him. And even more so because he didn’t know the answer.
But by early 2005 he was given an opportunity to find out.
Isaiah was receiving an award by the Pan African Film Festival and as part of the offer, he would be given the results of a DNA test that would reveal his ancestral lineage to the African people. On February 12, 2005, he was given the results.
[Isaiah learns his African ancestral roots]
Adryana Cortez: It was a spiritual moment for Isaiah. The kid from Houston finally felt connected to his roots.
Isaiah also began looking more into establishment politics.
Isaiah Washington: I got invited to go into Washington D.C. and got a chance to meet Bush…
Adryana Cortez: He was intrigued by President Bush’s support of Africa. Isaiah thought the family’s connection to the slave trade may have sparked an interest in the president righting a historical wrong, and the actor wanted to go to DC to support Bush’s efforts.
Isaiah Washington: no one on my show wanted me to go to the White House. This guy's horrible. He's a Hitler. He’s disgusting. Why would you go to the White House and support this guy? Well because you don't tell me what the fuck to do. I'm my own man and I'm curious and I actually thought I was going to be at the White House but I was actually at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Adryana Cortez: While there, Isaiah met a man named Steve Ross who he’d later work with to start an organization called the Artists and Athletes Alliance to lobby for policy like the First Step Act.
The trip was fruitful, but it no doubt ruffled some feathers back in Hollywood.
As Grey’s Anatomy’s audience grew – the press became hungrier and hungrier for any piece of information on the show. Like any big project, tempers sometimes flared, and that happened on the set of Grey’s in early October 2006. Isaiah found himself in a heated argument with one of the other lead actors – Patrick Dempsey. The quick confrontation, but it would change his life forever…giving a glimpse into the future of cancel culture that is everywhere today.
More after the break.
Patrick Courrielche: Welcome back.
So as October 2006 rolled around, Isaiah Washington was on top of the world. He’d been performing on the big and little screen for over fifteen years. Forest Whitaker gave him his first big break, and he worked his way up the industry, having a prolific career with Spike Lee then working with other Tinseltown legends. He started connecting with his African roots, and even traveled to DC to meet President Bush – something his Hollywood circle didn’t like.
But it was a confrontation with his co-star on Grey’s Anatomy that would change his life forever.
I initially hesitated in talking with Isaiah about this moment in his life.
Patrick Courrielche: So you you know I know you know you had your whole thing with with Grey's Anatomy and I don't need to get into that the. So what did you start to do after that. I mean I imagine that you were a would you start doing career wise.
Patrick Courrielche: Researching Isaiah’s interviews throughout his career, it was easy to see that he’d been discussing it for well over a decade and was ready to move passed it. But as we talked, I’m sure he knew better than anyone that it was part of his story and so he begrudgingly opened up about the whole ordeal.
Isaiah Washington: The only reason people know me is because the liberal media decide to make me a scapegoat. That’s it. End of story.
Patrick Courrielche: In early October 2006, someone leaked to the press an argument that Isaiah Washington had with Patrick Dempsey, also known to the public as McDreamy. The initial stories implied Isaiah assaulted Dempsey, but official statements from both men quickly dispelled that rumor.
It appeared the news about the dust up was going to fade away into the celebrity gossip black hole. But then seemingly out of nowhere, another Grey’s Anatomy cast member T.R. Knight came out as gay…and some began linking his public admission with the fight between Isaiah and Dempsey.
New stories began leaking to the press that in the midst of Isaiah and Dempsey’s argument, Isaiah had said the so-called f-word that rhymes with maggot, and directed it at T.R. Knight – an act that would have been completely out of character to anyone familiar with his body of work.
Isaiah released a statement to People Magazine, apologizing for his choice of words during the confrontation with Dempsey, and others associated with the show, including T.R. Knight’s best friend on the show Katherine Heigl, went on record saying it was just a short argument that quickly dissipated.
But there was no direct response as to whether Isaiah actually said the f-word and if he did, whether it was directed at Isaiah’s cast mate T.R. Knight. And unfortunately, if you know how corporate culture works, the studio wasn’t allowing the cast to openly discuss the incident.
Weeks went by as blogs began speculating on the story and some called for Isaiah to be fired from the show. The media was running with the story, and there was nothing he could do about it. As the Golden Globes came along in early January 2007, the stage was set for a media assassination.
On his arrival to the show with his wife, it was obvious during a red carpet interview with the Associated Press that the story was weighing heavily on Isaiah.
It turned out to be a big night for Grey’s Anatomy. The how won a Golden Globe.
Typically after awards are doled out, the winners go back stage to answer questions from the press. The Grey’s Anatomy cast joined the shows creator, Shonda Rhimes, and the question that many in the blood thirsty press wanted answered was whether Isaiah called his cast mate the f-word.
It was obviously an uncomfortable moment for the shows creator. Isaiah, looking to protect his friend Shonda, defend himself and end the speculation once and for all, stepped to the microphone and answered the question directly. But in our bizarro world where some words can no longer be uttered out loud, even when describing an incident, Isaiah made the mistake of being literal.
That’s when the knives came out. Cast mate Katherine Heigl spoke out to the media calling on Isaiah to, “not speak in public.”
Then T.R. Knight went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to give his version of the story, claiming that Isaiah had in fact directed the f-word at him. But ironically, both T.R. Knight and Ellen did exactly what Isaiah was being slammed for…they said the F-word out loud.
Isaiah was in trouble. There was a full court press against him, and he was uncertain as to why it was happening. ABC, the network behind Grey’s Anatomy, enforced a gag order on him. Even with Katherine and T.R. Knight blabbering away, he could no longer respond to any accusations.
Isaiah met with the president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, the NAACP of the gay community, to apologize for using the f-word out loud at the Golden Globes. The network distributed both a statement on Isaiah’s behalf and a corporate response suggesting that he’d be getting help to examine his soul. The text of the release looked like a character assassination to set him up for a future fall.
On the direction of ABC, Isaiah spent nearly a week in an executive retreat designed as a PR stunt to calm the media naysayers.
In early March 2007, Isaiah received an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Drama.
The award infuriated Hollywood’s gay activists.
So in another attempt to counter the media attacks and appease some weak kneed ABC executives, Isaiah filmed a public service announcement with GLAAD, denouncing what we’d later be widely referred to as hate speech.
The entire ordeal made Isaiah look as if he had some animus towards the gay community and was in need of atonement.
But it didn’t work. On June 7, 2007, at 5:08 pm, Isaiah received a call from the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes. His contract was not being renewed.
ABC had thrown Isaiah under the bus.
The liberal media wanted everyone to believe that Isaiah was a homophobe. The same man who portrayed a gay man ten years early when it was not only unpopular, but the lifestyle was widely rejected by the black community. The same guy who even spoke out against homophobia in Essence magazine long before his f-word controversy broke - that guy is who the liberal media wanted America to believe was anti-gay. The notion was preposterous.
Isaiah Washington: I had a job six hours after I was released from my contract was not fired. Contract wasn't renewed. I had a very lucrative deal with NBC for Bionic Woman, six hours later. You tell me who can leave a number one show under controversy and get hired six hours later.
Well I'll tell you an innocent man.
Patrick Courrielche: He got a gig on a reboot of Bionic Woman. But the show didn’t last long.
Over the next three years, the bottom dropped out from under Isaiah. The media ran with the laughable narrative that he was homophobic, and it stuck for while. No one would touch him. He couldn’t even rent a home in his name…he had to use his wife’s because his was so toxic. He even contemplated suicide. As time went on, Isaiah was taken back by the injustice of it all. Other white actors, with actual serious moral character flaws, were being welcomed back into Hollywood.
Isaiah Washington: You can go down the line of a lot of actors that are not of color that have horrible backgrounds. Horrible backgrounds.
I'm not gonna get at Charlie Sheen he’s a good dude I’m sure. But come on man. He gets to get a Super Bowl commercial. More money.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah couldn’t help but think that race played a role in his famous release from Grey’s Anatomy.
Now being blacklisted from the traditional Hollywood machine, the actor turned to Facebook to connect directly with his fans, and in the social media network he began to reshape his career. He worked under the radar, first taking speaking engagements and event appearances work – the kind of stuff that’s low low low on the totem pole in Hollywood.
He went back to his acting roots…taking the leading role in a TV One movie The Undersheppard.
Then he started becoming more entrepreneurial. Isaiah began producing films himself.
He connected with writer/director Alexandre Moors via Facebook and produced Blue Caprice – a film about the DC Sniper. Isaiah played the lead role and was also the executive producer – which meant he was one of the guys running the show.
Isaiah Washington: Did Blue Caprice. Went to Sundance 2013.
Executive producer. Blew Whoopi Goldberg's mind when I did The View when she saw me as executive producer. She's said wait a minute, you're the executive producer because she knows what that means. Profit participation. Front end, back end. All around. Control. Power
How can you get that? Well I demanded it. If you want me to do this movie, it has a 50 50 chance to be seen by the world because the media everybody still hated me and making me into something I'm not. But it's going to be a god damn movie and it's going to live longer than me. Took over Sundance three showings. Standing room only at Sundance. I came out of the woodwork, they said. Hadn't seen since six years and now I'm the executive producer of one of the most watched movies at Sundance in 2013 or 2012.
Patrick Courrielche: In 2014 he produced the film Blackbird.
Isaiah Washington: I hired Monique. From Facebook. I got an offer on Facebook. No agent no manager. I hired Monique. In what was supposed to be the first Moonlight. I play a father in the Mississippi about how homophobic the church is in the south.
[00:43:14] Openly gay actor Julian Walker love him to death. Played his father. I produced that movie…Everybody in the gay community couldn't believe we were making a movie about gay people.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah was back in the mix, making his own opportunities. That’s when Hollywood came knocking again.
In 2014, the man that was in charge of ABC during Isaiah’s f-word controversy, Mark Pedowitz, was running the CW Network. And he looked to Isaiah to get a show off the ground.
Isaiah Washington: Hired by Mark Pedowitz. Mark Pedowitz was the president of ABC touchstone. Mark Pedowitz that the media refused to talk about refused to write. Mark Pedowitz was the one that was forced not to renew my contract on Grey's Anatomy. Then turned around six years later and hired me to greenlight a very successful show that trends on Netflix called The Hundreds, a sci-fi.
Patrick Courrielche: If Isaiah were a homophobe as the liberal media and Hollywood painted him, why would the guy who was in charge of ABC during his f-word scandal hire him to launch a new series with the CW?
The same year, Isaiah was asked to come back to Grey’s Anatomy for a guest appearance to add closure to a storyline with departing actress Sandra Oh.
To people paying close attention, Isaiah’s departure from Grey’s Anatomy made no real sense, until March 2018.
That month, a former ABC entertainment lawyer came forward and accused the network of racist treatment of their black talent and accused one ABC executive of spreading the rumor that Isaiah was difficult to work with – the kiss of death in Hollywood.
[quote from Kim Clayton Hershman]
Patrick Courrielche: As Isaiah began to successfully rebuild his entertainment career without the traditional Hollywood machine of an agent, manager, and publicity representative he decided he wasn’t going back. He no longer needed the Hollywood machine to succeed, he was making it on his own.
Isaiah Washington: After that I basically told Hollywood to kiss my ass. I boycott. Hollywood didn’t boycott me. How does that work. Took the money I made up the left asked to leave Bionic Woman because the leadership left.
And started burning 120 million dollars worth waste in the movie scene. Got the rest of my money dipped. I wrote a book. The foundation helped a lot of people build a lot of wells in Africa.
I said no Hollywood. I said no. Hollywood didn’t say no to me. I said no. A lot of people don’t want to believe that. Oh that arrogant asshole. I don't give a fuck what they say my women tell Hollywood to kiss my black ass. I've never said this before. I'm so sick of hearing about Grey's. What happened to this.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah is now creating his own opportunities, producing his own projects. Outside of the Hollywood machine, he has the ability to speak his mind – which is how he got on the radar of the MAGA movement.
During the 2016 election, he was a supporter of Bernie Sanders – but when the man conceded to Hillary Clinton even after learning how the DNC rigged the primary against him…Isaiah had an awakening about the Democrat Party.
Isaiah Washington: I was so obbessed with the behavior of that election process. It is disgusting. You remember it. It was disgusting. It destroyed Donna Brazil's career. It was disgusting what was going. I was even a huge fan of Bernie Sanders. And when he conceded to Hillary after all pf the controvesy. I say OK. Something has gone wrong.
Patrick Courrielche: He was so turned off by the election process that he joined the Green Party and voted for Jill Stein as a protest vote. But after the election of Donald Trump, Isaiah began to notice a different trend.
Isaiah Washington: And then I start saying okay why is CNN so hell bent on me hating this man named Donald Trump. And when I know they have put me pm media blackout. Don Lemon has never been a friend of mine. I got his email. I tell him all the good things, my book, my this. Never supported. But when he wanted me to show up to trick me into something to make it controversial work out with him. I ended up in the headline. Every time. Every single time I ended up in the negative headline I’ve been on CNN because that's the narrative. That's how they've cast me. Then they always say Hey man don't take it personally it's just show. Oh it's just a show. It's just entertainment. Well that's good to know. I won't be watching CNN anymore. I don't like this show.
Patrick Courrielche: He joined Brandon Straka’s #WalkAway movement – not to become a Republican, but to tell the black community that the Democrats have gone astray. He thinks the Black community should walk away from the Democrats and instead align with the policy that they believe in – regardless of party.
He caused a storm on social media when he came out in support for Donald Trump’s prison reform legislation – and that’s what ultimately put him on the radar of the MAGA movement.
Isaiah Washington: And I’m gonna work on policy you know with President when he's re-elected and the MAGA supporters help me get him re-elected because I think he's going to keep America great whether I believe him as a Republican or a Democrat. I don't believe in the Democratic Party at all. And I have more than enough evidence in the liberal media and what they're doing to destroy this country with socialism and an idea that Obama tried. I think he tried it. It was a good idea. We thought it would work as a black man but it doesn't work, not for America.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah supports several policies that are aligned with the Right. He’s started publicly questioning the impact of illegal immigration on the working class. He promotes responsible gun ownership through an organization he started called Guns Matter – that’s an alternative to the NRA. He is a vocal supporter of the President’s prison reform initiatives.
Isaiah Washington: You know I know what it takes to work hard sacrifice and rebuild yourself rebuild your name. I did it on social media. I rebuilt my name. If you talk if you think just 10, 12 years ago I was worse than Osama bin Laden. That's not, no longer the truth. Well that took work brother. Work from the sweat from my brow. Strategy from my side. I had no help and I can't think of a more conservative point of view is talk about pullomg yourself up by your bootstraps.
Patrick Courrielche: And he also brings some new ideas to the table…one that the right reflexively rejects…reparations.
Isaiah Washington: I wanna get with the MAGA people I want to find out why they're so resistant for reparations. I want to find out. Why they feel the way that they feel.
Patrick Courrielche: Which brings us back to the question…does racism really exist in America?
The simple answer is that racism does exist…but it flourishes most within the halls of the elites. Places like Hollywood and the media…two industries exclusively dominated by liberals. That’s not to say that the right doesn’t have racists…no one party has a monopoly on bigotry. But the people that have the most power to flex their racism are in the halls of our cultural institutions. Places like the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia – all systems completely controlled by the left.
Isaiah Washington’s story is a complicated one. He hadn’t really experienced racism until later in life. He faced colorism as a child with the Frazier Girls, and as a young man at Howard University. But the most damaging racism, the kind that pushed him to thoughts of taking his own life – was what he experienced when he faced the liberal media and Hollywood machine.
Isaiah Washington: Let's think about it. I don't have any domestic violence issues. No molestation. I'm not running around giving people HIV. I don’t have a drug addiction problem. I don’t even have a j-walking ticket brother. I have no criminal record. 30 years. My only crime was being a strong black man in America at a time it wasn't popular. We’re talking about pre-Obama. And a dark skinned one. So when I went to Howard University it finally caught up to me in America.
Patrick Courrielche: Isaiah persuasively points out to me that our elites only like a certain kind of black men with a voice.
Isaiah Washington: We don't like you uppity negroes especially you dark skinned ones, because historically it's only a bi racial or light skin man that’s supposed to be the speaker of all black people. We know it. Look at it.
Patrick Courrielche: To back up his theory, Isaiah mentions the first person of African-American decent elected from New York to Congress, Adam Clayton Powell, a founder of the NAACP, W. E. B. Dubois, boxer Muhammad Ali, and Muslim minister and activist Malcolm X…all light-skinned African-Americans.
Isaiah Washington: White supremacist love for lighter skinned people to speak for all black people. We’re not that far from the mindset of the plantation brother. So my image and my voice was never supposed to be popular especially if I didn't have an accent like Sidney Portier.
Patrick Courrielche: To prove his point in the world of Hollywood, Isaiah mentions Idris Elba, David Oyelowo who played Martin Luther King, and Daniel Kaluuya who is slated to play Black Panther leader Fred Hampton – all some of the hottest Black actors in America…but none are American…they’re all British.
Isaiah Washington: If you don't have a British accent and you’re dark skinned, you don't get to go to the ring. Yes I said it. I dare someone to show me some evidence otherwise. We had an African, beautiful person, David Oyelowo. You’re gonna tell me there’s no African-American who could play Martin Luther King. What’s going on? What’s going on America? What’s going on Hollywood?
Patrick Courrielche: I’ve said this on our show and in many interviews throughout the years – one of the most racist communities that I’ve ever encountered has been Hollywood and the media. They only like certain kinds of minorities…they must be submissive, and they must be liberal. If not, eventually…they’re expelled.
Many of my friends on the Right lampooned the Oscars So White campaign as just another instance of Hollywood whining. But they largely missed an opportunity. African-American actors sense the racism all around them in liberal Hollywood. Listen to actress Gabrielle Union describe the situation.
[Gabrielle Union on racism in Hollywood]
Patrick Courrielche: However, in my opinion many African-Americans in Hollywood mistakenly interpreted the racism they’ve experienced in Hollywood as white supremacy. That’s too broad. They should focus the blame on the people that actually run Tinseltown…and that’s white liberal elites. Any serious review of Hollywood’s power players will prove that point.
The MAGA movement seems to see a kindred spirit in Isaiah Washington. Because both the Deplorables and a young boy from a shotgun house in Houston have been attacked viciously by the mainstream media.
Patrick Courrielche: You've been through the wringer and know what it's like to be attacked by the media and so you're not afraid of that the way maybe a lot of other people might be.
Isaiah Washington: I think and I know that's exactly why the MAGA people will talk to me now they're tired of being attacked and accused of something. Who wants to be accused of being a racist and they’re not man. That’s not cool. It’s just not cool man. It’s just not cool.
And the liberal media getting behind this and mainstream media get behind this. I definitely know what it looks like. I know for a reason that a lot of my fans who happen don't even know Republicans are MAGA. They're coming to me and they come to me because they remember, They remember the injustice. They smelled a rat…
So they're seeing that something's going on some treachery is happening. And as that’s a powerful time right now. 2020, we’re living in some very interesting times right now. And I’m ready for it.