CNN's Paula Zahn hosted a debate over the use of words that offend minority groups, focusing on the other "F" word which is often used as a weapon to attack gays.
The debate has recently been fueled by Grey's Anatomy star, Isaiah Washington, who used the word twice in reference to a gay co-worker.
"There is no question that it is just as offensive to members of the gay and lesbian community as the 'N' word is," Human Right Campaign President Joe Solmonese said on CNN.
But Solmonese said that it wasn't about "banning the language, it's about getting to what motivated the language in the first place."
According to a celebrity blog, Washington's castmates on the popular, top-rated ABC medical drama aren't sure if he will be returning to the show after he finishes his rehab stint.
"Isaiah Washington's Grey's Anatomy castmates are keeping their distance as the disgraced actor battles his demons in rehab," Starpulse reports. "The star was a no-show at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, where his castmates claimed a Best TV Ensemble, after checking into a treatment centre to address issues that reared up after he twice referred to gay co-star T.R. Knight as a 'faggot'. And while co-star Chandra Wilson offered her support to him during her Best Actress acceptance speech, other castmates weren't quite so warm towards Washington."
Chatting with New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith, actress Sharon Stone – who has done a lot of fundraising for AIDS causes over the years and once famously (or infamously) played a bisexual serial killer in the 1990s hit film Basic Instinct – called Washington's rehab punishment "absurd."
"I've been called a bitch – and a lot worse – for years," Stone told Smith. "And you know what, so what? People who think that aren't going to change their minds."
"And I wouldn't dream of sending them to therapy to 'rehabilitate' their feelings," Stone continued. "How absurd."
Smith writes that "Miss Stone added, 'Please, I call all my gay friends 'big fags' (Hmmm . . . when the politically correct cops get on Sharon's case, I do pity them!)."