06/21/2007 at 11:50 AM EDT
Isaiah Washington, whose contract was not renewed
for season four of Grey's Anatomy
, is now saying ABC made a mistake letting him go.
"They fired the wrong guy," the actor, 43, tells his hometown paper, the Houston Chronicle
According to the Chronicle
, Washington said his costar, T.R. Knight, was the one who should have been fired for stirring up controversy and creating a negative work environment – to win a raise and a bigger role for himself.
"I have to clear my name," Washington says. "I'll start from the beginning. I'm telling everything. So here's the truth."
In January, Knight told Ellen DeGeneres
that Washington used a homophobic slur against him during an on-set argument with Patrick Dempsey. "I've never been called that to my face," Knight said.
"That's a lie," Washington tells the Chronicle
. "I used the word during a disagreement with Patrick. I apologized for that. We shook hands and went back to work."
When word of the dust-up became public, Washington apologized, checked into rehab, met with gay leaders and released a public-service announcement
decrying the use of hate speech.
Washington tells the Chronicle
that he was wronged and may file a lawsuit. "My livelihood, my honor and dignity and my name have been so challenged," he says (The paper has no comment from Knight, and says network executives declined to comment.)
Adds Washington: "I was not fired for making homophobic slurs. I did everything I said I would do. I offered to go to counseling, to do a public service announcement. I wanted everyone to know I was remorseful."
Still, he says of his firing: "I'm not angry. I'm disappointed."