Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams rose criticism after his speech when accepting the humanitarian prize at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards. His impassioned speech calling for an end to police abuses toward black people, racial equality, and cultural appropriation is accused of being a “racist hate speech” against law enforcement and white people.
A Change.org petition demands that the actor of the popular ABC medical drama should be fired because, according to the Erin Smith who started the request, his speech was racist and he needs to face the same consequences as other ethnic groups when accused of discrimination.
The petition says that if he was a white person making the same speech about an African American, that person would have been fired and globally chastised. She criticizes that no companies are making a stand against his racist remarks, and there have not been consequences for his negative attitude. She uses as a precedent the case of Isaiah Washington, a Grey’s Anatomy cast member that was fired from the show for his repeated use of a homophobic slur.
Erin Smith started the petition on July 1 and by Tuesday there were more than 8 thousand signatures. The actor responded with a tweet that says this kind of actions promote negative people and their tantrums.
Do not promote empty people & their tantrums. Pure clickbait to gain followers, attention & money, for themselves, not you. Never you.
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 3, 2016
Jesse Williams speech was about what he considers the inherent inequality of America’s economic and judicial system. He added that the system disproportionately abuses and marginalizes people of color.
He mentioned controversial cases involving police violence against blacks including Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and the alleged suicide of Sandra Bland while in the custody of authorities. Williams said that data shows that the police de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day.
Jesse Williams is a civil right activist and received a humanitarian award at the BET ceremony for his work. He has starred and produced “Black Lives Matter” a documentary of the black movement that premiered last month on BET. He also produced and art project about the experience of black men in America. The project’s name is “Question Bridge.”
The petition stands zero chances at succeeding, Shonda Rhimes statement on Twitter sends a clear message
Shonda Rhimes is an African American woman, television producer, writer, and creator of “Grey’s Anatomy.” She is popular for creating network series that showcase powerful females and a commitment to diversity and complex social issues. Some of her creations are Scandal, Private Practice, How to Get Away With Murder, and Grey’s.
Regarding the petition to fire Jesse Williams, as she did with Isaiah Washington, she stated on Twitter that she is not dismissing Williams for his speech, adding the hashtag #shondalandrules.
Um, people? Boo don't need a petition. #shondalandrules
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 5, 2016
Source: The New York Times