According to some, this season of television has been somewhat obsessed with unemployment. I get that, I think. The "talent" doesn't seem to be fired very often in Hollywood, and I have witnessed a lot of reluctance to fire the incompetent or just plain disadvantageous over the scant years of my work experience as well.
A lot of people have been asking whether firing Isaiah Washington from Grey's Anatomy went too far. I think that the simplest answer, for me, lies in those speeches they give you when you start a new job about how you represent the company when you go about your day-to-day life. The point being that if you embarrass them out in your private life they may fire you for adversely affecting their image. It's a simple concept to understand, and I think it's probably a good one for Hollywood employers to remind their employees of every once in a while. I imagine that maintaining something resembling a reasonable work environment can be somewhat difficult at times.
On a more personal note, I think that the little trend of going to rehab for saying offensive/intolerant/stupid/generally unacceptable things is just as distasteful as saying those things. Washington said something homophobic, insensitive, and uncharitable. Unless he was drunk or high at work when he said it, there isn't really a call to blame that choice to speak on an addiction. That was the basis on which Mel Gibson tried to smooth over his asinine behavior with rehab: he was driving under the influence while it happened. That doesn't make what he said blamable on alcohol, it just means that his inhibitions were low enough to say that terrible thing he thought. Washington's focus in trying to win back public favor should have been to make some overtures to those he offended, admit abject jackass behavior, and maybe go do something positive in the homosexual community. Even being honest enough to just admit negative feelings about homosexuality would have been braver and, perhaps on some level, better received that retreating to rehab. Better no apology than a terrible one.
I'm not sure that rehab would have been good enough for Washington if a white actor had called him the N-word.