Isaiah Washington Blasts Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law: ‘It’s Absurd’

Actor-producer, who stars in the upcoming gay-themed film “Blackbird,” tells TheWrap he finds events in Indiana similar to the 1960s civil rights struggle

Last Updated: April 2, 2015 @ 9:14 PM

Isaiah Washington, who’s been making headlines this week for his thoughts on racial profiling, is taking on another controversial topic — Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“For the religious right to circle the wagon and think they can do that, it’s absurd,” Washington told TheWrap in an interview Thursday.

The actor and producer joins a growing list of Hollywood players who have condemned the week-old law because they fear it would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers based on religious objections.

Miley Cyrus, Oscar-winning “Milk” writer Dustin Lance Black and late-night host Andy Cohen have all spoken out against the law.

After a national outcry, Indiana legislators overhauled the legislation Thursday. The changes prohibit businesses from using it as a legal defense for refusing “to offer or provide services” to customers based on “race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.”

However, Washington wondered why the law was passed in the first place.

“If you’re not into the gay lifestyle, OK cool,” he told TheWrap. “But for businesses to do this, they will ultimately lose money.”

"Blackbird" (RLJ Entertainment)

“Blackbird” (RLJ Entertainment)

The Hollywood veteran then compared what’s happening in Indiana to the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when African-Americans fought to desegregate restaurants, hotels and public transportation.

“It’s ridiculous,” he complained about the current situation in Indiana.

The award-winning actor is no stranger to issues involving the LGBT community. He exited the ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 amid reports that he hurled a gay slur at costar T. R. Knight during an alleged on-set dispute. Washington eventually issued a statement apologizing for his “unfortunate” language.

The star now champions LGBT issues and was instrumental is getting the gay-themed feature film “Blackbird” made.

"Blackbird" (RLJ Entertainment)

“Blackbird” (RLJ Entertainment)

The independent drama centers on a deeply religious high school student in a small Mississippi town, who struggles with the possibility that he may be gay.

Washington plays the teen’s father, while Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique co-stars as the young man’s mother.

Washington produced the film and helped select the cast with director Patrik-Ian Polk. They found their young male lead in Mississippi college student, Julian Walker, because no top African-American talent in Hollywood would sign on for the project.

The film’s director has previously said the actors who turned the drama down cited anti-gay religious convictions along with concerns about the film’s love scenes involving two men.

When asked why he felt it was important to bring “Blackbird” to the big screen, Washington said, “I wasn’t afraid to tell the truth.”

After previously appearing in the movies “Blue Caprice,” “Romeo Must Die” and “Exit Wounds,” the actor told TheWrap he now chooses issue-oriented films that make people think. “My movies break down -isms.”

“Blackbird” arrives in theaters on April 24 and will later be shown on Robert L. Johnson’s Urban Movie Channel.