In a move that shows just how threatened some people feel when a Black man speaks his whole, entire truth, a woman named Erin Smith hopped on Change.org on Friday (July 1) to create a petition with a name that really says it all: “Sign the petition to fire Jesse Williams from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for racist rant.”
On June 26, Jesse Williams accepted the Humanitarian Award at BET Awards 2016, spitting an epic speech that not only affirmed the humanity and souls of Black folks, but took a stand against state violence, celebrities who refuse to advocate for their people and those who quietly stand by when Black American’s lives and rights are brutalized—but have a million opinions about the way African Americans fight for freedom.
Apparently, Smith did not quite understand that last part.
From the petition:
Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and White people at the BET awards. If this was a White person making the same speech about an African American, they would have been fired and globally chastised, as they should be, but there has been no consequences to Williams’ actions. There’s been no companies making a stand against his racist remarks and no swift action condemning his negative attitude. Why was Burke’s character fired from Grey’s Anatomy after his inappropriate homophobic slur, but nothing for Jesse Williams? Why the one-way street? Why the support for a hater? Why the hypocrisy? #AllLivesMatter All humans bleed the same color. #EqualConsequences4RacistBehavior
Meanwhile, “Grey’s Anatomy” creator and showrunner Shonda Rhimes made it clear last night (July 4) that she is not at all interested in the opinions of the 4,832 people who have signed the petition, which is directed at her network, ABC.
Um, people? Boo don’t need a petition. #shondalandrules— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 5, 2016
Last night’s tweet is in line with her initial social media response to Williams’ epic speech:
In woods. Far from wifi. Get signal! What’d I miss? “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” @iJesseWilliams’ speech. YES.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) June 28, 2016
Williams—whose Black father and White mother were in the audience during his speech—posted this tweet on July 3 that likely sums up his reaction to the petition: