Isaiah Washington Back on His Own Terms

The ex-Grey's Anatomy star talks of a career U-turn with a meaty role as the D.C. sniper in Blue Caprice.

Isaiah Washington as John Allen Muhammad and Tequan Richmond as Lee Boyd Malvo in Blue Caprice (Brian O'Carroll)

IW: I still love [my fans]. I gave you Love Jones. I gave you True Crime. If you got it wrong, then you got it wrong, but I’m not a liar. I said what I had to say, I apologized for what I apologized for, but you’re lying on me.

If I did what they said I did, then how do [I] get to stay there [on Grey’s Anatomy]? I never understood my people who were mad at me. If you do what they said I did, how do you go back to work for eight months afterward?

I sat in the back being gagged by my former bosses, not talking because I was nervous; I didn’t want to lose the $20 million opportunity. So I am not going to talk anymore. You don’t get to stay anywhere if it all went down the way certain people wanted it to be framed. So anytime I could have said anything, even now, it’s like, why are you still talking about it?

[Some people may say] you’re an a–hole, you’re a homophobe. You can’t be in this business for 25 years having those issues. It don’t work — period. So when I checked out of Hollywood, I checked out because y’all are stupid.

TR: I know you have taken some smaller roles here and there, but when you dropped out of Hollywood, what did you do?

IW: I’ve been working in Sierra Leone. I’ve been helping to rebuild a nation that was torn apart by the blood-diamond wars. I found out that my ancestry is from Sierra Leone, and I was made a chief there. I’ve been lobbying on Capitol Hill and dealing with saving real lives.

I’m like Sean Penn in Haiti. I’m doing something that can change a child’s life with the schools I’ve been working on. I also wrote a book. Now I am trying to get funding to build a railroad in Africa. That’s what I have been up to for the last six years. I’m literally trying to still help my people because I love my people, even when my people don’t love me.

Julie Walker is a New York-based freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter.