Jesse Williams' inflammatory speech at the BET Awards last week has sparked a Change.org petition calling for him to be fired from Grey's Anatomy. The petition, created on Friday, gained more than 5,000 signatures within four days.
"Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards," the petition's creator, Erin Smith, writes. "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."
Williams, a former history teacher, made the speech on June 26 as he accepted a humanitarian award at the BET Awards for his role in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. "We're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strained fruit," he said. "The thing is that just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real." (Watch his full speech in the video above.)
On Monday, Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes dismissed Smith's petition with a single tweet, referencing a counter-petition that's been created to keep Williams on the show (and which had nearly 20,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning):
Um, people? Boo don't need a petition. #shondalandrules— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 5, 2016
Previously, Rhimes applauded Williams' speech via Twitter:
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
As for Williams, he tweeted Sunday urging fans not to promote "pure clickbait."
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