A new petition has been launched calling for Jesse Williams to be fired from Grey’s Anatomy after he spoke out against racism at last month’s BET Awards.
While making his acceptance speech after receiving an award for his humanitarian efforts, Jesse – who plays Dr Jackson Avery in the hit medical drama – explained how prevalent racism still is in the States today by highlighting cases of police brutality and the lack of equal opportunities available for people of colour.
He said: “I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television then going home to make a sandwich.”
“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.”
“The thing is, just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.”
Jesse – who played Holden in The Cabin in the Woods – received a standing ovation before he had even finished the speech, with many audience members being reduced to tears by his impassioned words.
But not everyone was so impressed by the actor’s speech as the Independent has reported that a new Change.org petition has been launched which is calling for Jesse to be removed from his position on Grey’s on the grounds that his speech was racist.
The petition – which has so far received over 2,300 supporters – states: “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.”
So far there has been no reaction to the petition from the ABC network.