“Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams delivered an impassioned speech at last week’s BET Awards that went viral, but not everyone is happy about it. Fox News contributor Stacey Dash has publicly spoken out and a Change.org petition seeks his dismissal from the show. But what exactly offended critics?
Dash called Williams “a Hollywood plantation slave” in a blog post three days after the speech, accusing the actor of “spewing” hate and anger. Meanwhile Erin Smith, who created the petition, called it “a racist hate speech against law enforcement and white people.” Here’s what they took issue with.
“Police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day … I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich.”
“If this was a white person making the same speech about an African American,” the petition reads, “they would have been fired and globally chastised, as they should be, but there has been no consequences to Williams’ actions.”
Calling his speech “nothing short of an attack on white people,” Dash said “the fact that you were standing on that stage at THOSE awards tells people you really don’t know what your talking about. Just spewing hate and anger.”
“‘You’re free,’ they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so free.”
“You’ve just seen the perfect example of a HOLLYWOOD plantation slave!” Dash wrote in response to Williams, who delivered his words after invoking Sandra Bland, a black woman who was found dead in her jail cell days after a routine traffic stop in Texas last year.
“True freedom is never free … If anyone is making you feel this way its you. Living in a psychological prison of your own making,” the “Clueless” actress continued.
“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 strange fruit.”
“This is taking us backward, not forward toward ending racism,” the petition reads, asking, “If Jesse’s speech was truly only directed toward certain ‘whiteness,’ then why are black people not acknowledging that and explaining it?”
“If anyone is GHETTO-IZING anyone, it’s people like you letting the BETs and other media outlets portray us in stereotypes,” Dash said.
“[We are] dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.”
“Not at all inconsistent being said while wearing expensive duds branded with designer logos,” Dash jibed. “You my man are just like everyone else hustling to get money. But your cognitive dissidents has you getting it from THAT BYSTANDER whom YOU DONT NEED. Yes. BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION is WHITE OWNED.”
“BET is keeping racism and segregation alive and this past Sunday’s awards show proves it,” Dash continued. “What he said was straight out of the Black Lives Matter playbook.'”
Smith added a note to the petition, telling “people making assumptions” that “this is not about politics. This is about equal consequences for racist behavior.”
Despite the complaints from Smith, Dash and conservative commentators, it doesn’t appear Williams is in any jeopardy of losing his job. “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes posted the following tweet on Monday.
Um, people? Boo don't need a petition. #shondalandrules
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 5, 2016
Watch video above from Williams’ speech in question.