In as many weeks, acclaimed actor Denzel Washington reputation is in the spotlight over another person’s less-than-flattering encounter with the actor. Journalist Katie Couric makes for the latest person divulging over a past experience with Washington, provoking outrage among fans.
Couric’s resurfaced comments stem from last year when she made a guest appearance on the “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino” podcast. While reflecting on her career, the veteran on-air talent recalled the “Training Day” star leaving her “shaken” and “uncomfortable” after a 2004 interview. At the time, Washington and castmate Meryl Streep were promoting their political thriller film “The Manchurian Candidate.”
While attempting to ask the actor about his stance on Hollywood’s stars and politics merging, Washington’s responses, Couric recounted, were anything but expected.
“I think he totally misconstrued a question I asked and kind of jumped all over me,” said Couric during the April 27, 2020, episode. She recalled the exchange going like this:
Couric: “Denzel, are you — do you feel— you know some people say Hollywood folks should stick to acting?”
Washington: “I don’t know what Hollywood folks are, first of all,” Washington replied. “Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don’t know anybody from there. So, I don’t — that’s like saying — calling you a type of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”
Couric: “OK, all right, well, let me rephrase the question. Are you one of those people that —”
Washington: “Ah, there you go. Am I one of those people? Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?”
Couric: “Oh, stop, stop, stop.”
Washington: “No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. ‘Am I one of those people?’ No, I’m not.”
The veteran continued with her line of questioning, still attempting to get Washington to share his stance when it comes to openly divulging his political views.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Couric during her recollection of the awkward exchange. She then brought up a donation the actor made to her Stand Up to Cancer organization.
“Anyway, I think he must have been having a really bad day ’cause he later wrote a big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet,” she said. “I love him, I admire him so much but I remember walking out and feeling really kind of shaken that he had kind of gone after me in a way that was completely, weirdly uncalled for.”
Washington’s fans unleashed criticism while condeming Couric for her perceived attempt at smudging the star’s reputation.
“They’re starting to target Denzel…He’s a strong intelligent Black man in Hollywood who knows what he wants…And that’s dangerous” tweeted one of Washington’s supporters.
“Caucasity back at it once again!!! 👹”
“Katie Couric and Ellen Pompeo expecting Denzel Washington to bow down to them only for Denzel to put them in their place.”
Actress Ellen Pompeo was under fire a week prior to Couric rehashing the details of the 2004 interview, after revealing she and the Oscar winner had an explosive showdown on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy” years ago.
Pompeo, who is the star of the show as Meredith Grey, recalled Washington stepping in to direct an episode, and along with his duties came the responsibility of giving the actors direction and feedback for each scene. The latter did not sit well with Pompeo.
“Denzel went ham on my ass. He was like, ‘I’m the director. Don’t you tell him what to do,’ ” she recalled over a time of improvising a line that was not in the script. Pompeo hit back by saying, “I was like, ‘Listen, m———-r, this is my show. This is my set. Who are you telling? Like, you barely know where the bathroom is.’ ”
She further disparaged the “Equalizer” actor’s skills behind the camera by stating he is movie star who “doesn’t know s–t about directing TV.”