Jesse Williams gave a powerful speech about inequality at the BETAwards last week that people are still talking about. In the days since Williams called on Black America to “stay woke” and to start a revolution, many have been inspired by his words. On the flipside, there are also a few angry Grey’s Anatomy fans who were less moved by his speech and have voiced their outrage over what has also been described as a “racist rant” in a petition that is calling to have Williams removed from his role on the ABC hit.
Most presenters and award winners worry about what to wear and who they are seen with when walking the red carpets at various award shows during the season. Rarely does a celebrity use the platform to further their cause like Jesse Williams did in his moving speech about racism, police brutality, and the continuing inequality in America. In case you missed it the first time around or just want to freshen up on Williams’ powerful message, check out the video below.
“The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander,” Williams said during the epic BET Awards acceptance speech. “That’s not our job, all right — stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”
Many have been supportive of Jesse Williams’ speech and have applauded his courage to stand on stage and put out a call to action in order to make change in this country. As Farrah Gray reported, others were not so impressed and have heavily criticized Williams for daring to speak out and risk his celebrity status for a cause.
….there’s a petition to “fire a racist, Jesse Williams, from Grey’s Anatomy.” https://t.co/zehuKwyz01
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 3, 2016
Angry fans have flooded the Grey’s Anatomy social media pages in the days since Jesse Williams’ speech and many are really upset about what he had to say. Some of the commenters have said that Williams himself is racist for even bringing up the disproportionate number of Black men who are sitting in prisons across the country and the disproportionate number of Black men who are killed by police each year.
The Grey’s Anatomy fans’ outrage has even spilled over to a petition now filed on Change.org. The petition begins, “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.”
Read Jesse Williams powerful BET acceptance speech in full https://t.co/ioEx25jKPG
— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) June 29, 2016
So far, the Jesse Williams petition hasn’t gone far. With just over 300 signatures, not even a small fraction of Grey’s Anatomy fans have even heard of the movement to have Williams fired. An even smaller fraction have actually agreed and signed. There is even a reference in there to Preston Burke, who used to have a role on the ABC hit but was fired after he made a homosexual slur.
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
Someone started a petition to fire Jesse Williams from Greys…do they not know who Shonda Rhimes is???????????lol good luck with that petition
— ARIEL (@Ariel_8998) July 3, 2016
As far as Shonda Rhimes is concerned, Jesse Williams’ BET speech got a thumbs up from her. Considering the stance of the Grey’s Anatomy showrunner, Williams’ job is probably going to be just fine. Those who threaten to boycott the show if Williams isn’t removed have mostly been ignored and likely won’t stop watching when Jesse continues his role on the hit and if they don’t, the few angry fans wouldn’t even make a dent in the ratings anyway.
[Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images]