– Despite the fact that publications as mainstream and unbiased as The Washington Post and Time Magazine recently issued full transcripts of the speech that Jesse Williams gave on June 26, 2016 at The BET Awards, apparently not everyone agrees that Williams’ words are something to be applauded.
On July 1, 2016 Erin Smith started a petition on the popular site Change.org claiming that ABC needs to fire Williams from it’s long running show “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Smith launched the petition on the grounds that his words were not political, but a “racist rant” pitted against “law enforcement and white people” as per the Change.org petition.
While it is not known exactly what spurred Smith to take to Change.org to voice displeasure with Williams’ speech in such a public forum, it is should be noted that a former member of Black Hollywood’s in crowd was the first to call Williams’ words a direct affront to white people.
On Wednesday, June 29th, former “Clueless” star and habitual Fox News pundit Stacey Dash went on record via blog post to incongruously call Williams ” the perfect example of a Hollywood plantation slave,” while also stating that Williams’ words were “nothing short of an attack on white people.”
As reported by ET Online and other news outlets, Dash also painted both BET and Williams with the same brush, accusing both the “Grey’s Anatomy” star and the cable network of “keeping racism and segregation alive.”
In keeping with Dash’s views, Smith’s petition also labels William’s words as hate speech leveled specifically at white people.
As of this article, Smith’s petition has gained 1334 supporters with a goal of 1500 to send Smith’s petition to ABC.
However, on Change.org. Williams would seem to already have his defenders.
In direct answer to Smith’s petition, on July 2, 2016 Dawn Murphy started another petition on the popular site supporting Williams.
Murphy’s petition, aptly titled “Don’t Let The Racists Win! ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Don’t Fire Jesse Williams,” currently has 13,080 supporters.
If the petition reaches it’s goal of 15,000 supporters, it will be sent directly to “Grey’s Anatomy” creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes.
Shonda Rhimes, who was named by Time Magazine as one of 2007’s 100 People Who Help Shape The World, is one of television’s most successful and formidable executive producers.
She is also African-American.
So far no official statement has been issued from either ABC or Shonda Rhimes in regards to Williams’ speech or either petition.