You read that right. It would’ve taken only one major factor for Scandal‘s Kerry Washington to walk away from her uber popular role as Olivia Pope. Making sure her role in the fictionalized show was not compared to Obama’s presidency was ultimately more important to her than the actual role.
A life without Olivia Pope every Thursday night is unimaginable. Sure we survived [blank] years without her. But there’s no turning back now that we’re hooked. Her chemistry with the show’s president, Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) is palpable. Sure she’s his mistress, which is oh so wrong, yet it’s oh so right. There’s a chance millions of viewers would’ve missed the greatness of watching a woman whose professional life is totally on point while her personal life is flawed had Shonda Rhimes created a black president instead.
“I thought, ‘If the president on the show is Black, I will not do the show.’ Because to me, it was too important a moment. I didn’t want to do anything that compromised my relationship with the [president] or that made it seem like I had an insider view on the Obama presidency,” she told the magazine. “I thought that would be so disrespectful and so against all the work that I had done.”
Like its namesake suggests, Scandal is scandalous. Had President Fitzgerald Grant been played by a black actor it would’ve been assumed by someone out there who can’t separate scripted TV from reality, that there are certain accuracies from the show that reflect on President Obama. Kerry has been at the forefront of both of the president’s campaigns to ensure he was elected then re-elected, so it makes sense she’d worry that people could potentially assume she’d have inside information on the White House. As the popular saying goes, Shonda Grimes be knowing.