The frenzy has yet to die down over a speech by “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams delivered as he accepted a humanitarian award during the BET Awards, held June 26.
Williams received a torrent of praise along with plenty of criticism for his comments on race and racism. You can see a portion of his speech below.
A petition to get Williams fired from “Grey’s Anatomy” was posted on change.org, with petition author Erin Smith writing: “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.”
Smith’s petition reportedly had more than 5,000 signatures as of this morning.
Time magazine reports that “Grey’s Anatomy” creator and showrunner Shonda Rhimes responded to the furor with a series of tweets expressing support for Williams. As the controversy was heating up last week, Rhimes tweeted: “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.”
Over the weekend Rhimes retweeted a message from Williams, thought to be a response to the petition, that said: “Do not promote empty people & their tantrums. Pure clickbait to gain followers, attention & money, for themselves, not you. Never you.”
Rhimes tweeted again on Monday, writing: “Um, people? Boo don’t need a petition. #shondalandrules.”
Here’s a portion of Williams’ BET Awards speech posted by CBS News. The clip also reports on a controversy over Justin Timberlake’s tweets in response to the speech …