Back to IndieWire

Jesse Williams’ BET Speech Sparks Petition To Get Him Fired From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Shonda Rhimes tweets in support of the actor.

Jesse Williams in "Grey's Anatomy."

Jesse Williams in “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Vivian Zink/ABC

Actor Jesse Williams was praised during the BET Awards when the “Grey’s Anatomy” star received the Humanitarian Award and used his time on stage to speak out about racial inequalities and police brutality. But now, a Change.com petition is calling for the actor to be fired from the Shonda Rhimes’ series.

According to the petition created by a user named Erin Smith, “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.”

READ MORE: Jesse Williams’s Fierce BET Awards Speech is Life-Changing

The user continued by asking, “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.”

At the time of publication, the petition has over 7,800 signatures, with a goal of 10,000. These signatures and a letter written by Smith will be sent to ABC if they reach that goal.

READ MORE: ABC Upfronts Preview: First Look at New Shonda Rhimes, Kiefer Sutherland, Hayley Atwell Shows

The actor took to Twitter to respond to the controversy by writing, “Do not promote empty people & their tantrums,” he wrote. “Pure clickbait to gain followers, attention & money, for themselves, not you. Never you.”

Meanwhile, various other petitions to keep the star on the ABC drama have also popped up. The network has yet to respond to the controversy, but “Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes tweeted in support of Williams, letting people know that she’s in charge. 

READ MORE: Black Girls Rock! Honors Shonda Rhimes, Amandla Stenberg and More 

Watch part of William’s speech below:

Stay on top of the latest film and TV breaking news! Sign up for our Email Newsletter here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,