Isaiah Washington Baffles CNN Viewers in Bizarre Defense of Racial Profiling Comments

“What I was doing was trying to excite a conversation,” the actor tells Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight”


After getting ripped on Twitter and becoming a trending topic for his tweets about racial profiling, Isaiah Washington sat down for an interview with Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight” Wednesday to clarify his comments.

As TheWrap previously reported, “The 100” actor sparked a social media war earlier in the day by tweeting unsolicited advice to “Top Five” star Chris Rock, who complained in a series of Instagram posts that he had been stopped by police three times in two months, suggesting he was being racially profiled.

“I sold my $90,000.00 Mercedes G500 and bought 3 Prius’s, because I got tired of being pulled over by Police. #Adapt @chrisrock,” Washington tweeted in response.

That comment set off a social media firestorm and prompted Lemon to offer the actor an opportunity to tell his side of the story.

“A lot of people took issue with the hashtag ‘adapt,’” Washington told the CNN anchor in a rambling interview, as he explained that he had adapted to being stopped by swapping his flashy Mercedes-Benz for a Toyota hybrid.

“There is something that is happening in his neighborhood — they [police] are looking for something. Obviously they are not looking for Chis Rock,” Washington said.

“What I was doing was trying to excite a conversation. We are looking at this term ‘Driving While Black,’ but maybe we should be looking at the term ‘black’ itself and have a different conversation,” he added.

Washington then began to relay his own experiences of being pulled over by the police with his children in the car. “I think the issue is many things… from my experiences, police are about the business of policing,” he said.

As Lemon tried to turn the conversation back to Rock by asking if the comedian should be “driving a different car,” even though it is his right to drive whatever he wants, the former “Grey’s Anatomy” actor offered another suggestion. “He needs to look at the area he is in and visit with the local police officers in that community… and question them as to why they are pulling him over specifically,” Washington said.

“But that is putting a burden on him,” Lemon countered.

“We’ve been burdened for 400 years… We are in a situation where we have to survive in extreme circumstances with people who are angry and those who are practicing white supremacy — they are on the hunt and they are angry,” Washington said to a visibly perplexed Lemon. “The onus is on us. If we don’t survive, we don’t live to fight another day — and that is what I was saying to adapt.”

Read Washington’s tweets below.

Watch the video of Washington’s interview.