Speech in America may be free, but that doesn’t mean it comes without any cost.
“Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams delivered an impassioned speech at this year’s BET Awards, summarizing the impact of systemic oppression in America while championing the resolve necessary in the ongoing fight for justice for people of color. Video of Williams’ stirring words quickly went viral, but now one decidedly un-woke petition seeking the actor be removed from his role on Shonda Rhimes’ ABC hospital drama is gathering some support online, under accusations that Williams’ words were racist in nature.
Characterizing his passionate plea as anti-police, anti-white “hate speech,” thereby proving a total lack of contextual understanding, the petition also includes a protest from creator Erin Smith defending herself as totally not a racist nor a Trump supporter, just a regular, everyday, #AllLivesMattter-er.
“Grey’s” executive producer Rhimes has made it clear that she supports Williams’ message, making this one of the many Change.org petitions likely to do nothing but make its supporters feel better about themselves. But cost and attention are all relative: the petition has roughly 6,500 names, while Williams’ words have been seen and supported millions of times over.