Gay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has reached out to former GREY'S ANATOMY star Isaiah Washington to apologise for previously branding him a "homophobe" following the columnist's own controversy with rapper WILL.I.AM.
The actor was axed from Grey's Anatomy in 2007 after 'outing' co-star T.R. Knight when he called him a "f**got" during a fight behind the scenes of the hit medical show.
Hilton subsequently attacked Washington for his actions and accused him of being anti-gay - but he's now retracted his comments after finding himself targeted for his own use of the homophobic slur during a clash with the Black Eyed Peas star at an event in Toronto, Canada on Sunday (21Jun09).
The writer alleged he was left bleeding and in shock when will.i.am attacked him - the star responded by insisting there was no violence and accused Hilton of branding him a "f**got" as they argued outside a nightclub.
Hilton - real name Mario Lavandeira - issued a statement on Wednesday (24Jun09) to say sorry to the gay community for using the offensive word, and he's reiterated his regret in another post on his website on Thursday (25Jun09).
He says, "I am sorry that any good work I have done for promoting equality may be tainted by me reclaiming a hurtful word... to hurt someone that was verbally attacking me. It was stupid. The 'F' word will never be uttered from my lips again. Just as others use the 'N' word to insult and hurt - or as part of their everyday speech - I challenge them to remove it from their vocabulary as well.
"I am apologising to the gay community, to anyone who was hurt by my choice of words... I have reached out to Isaiah Washington, someone I incorrectly labelled a homophobe in the past, despite his own public statements that he was not."
But Hilton refuses to apologise to leaders of gay rights organisation The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), who chastised him for using the slur during the altercation.
He adds: "I am sorry. I am NOT apologising to GLAAD. I could (sic) care less about them... I am apologising to the gay community, to anyone who was hurt by my choice of words..."
The Black Eyed Peas' road manager Polo Molina has since turned himself into Toronto authorities and is facing a charge for assault, as well as a lawsuit from Hilton.