TV star garners support for #BlackLivesMatter

July 8, 2016


Jesse Williams used his award acceptance speech to denounce institutional racism and police brutality.

Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams has been attacked for speaking out against racism with an online petition that garnered a paltry 1600 signatures in two days, demanding television network ABC fire the actor.

By contrast a counter-petition in support of the star had received 11,000 signatures by July 4.

The petitions followed Williams' powerful acceptance speech at the BET Awards on June 26, where he denounced institutional racism and police brutality.

“This is for the real organisers all over the country,” Williams said as he accepted the BET Humanitarian Award. “The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers of students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.”

“We're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us.

“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 the park in broad daylight, killing him on television, and going home to make a sandwich,” he said, referring to the police killing of Tamir Rice in 2014.

Videos of the speech went viral, with many on social media applauding Williams' courage. But others have criticised the actor for promoting “hate speech”.

The online petition, launched on Change.org, argues: “Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards. The petition calls on ABC to drop Williams from Grey's Anatomy.

Meanwhile, a counter-petition has emerged in support of Williams, declaring: “Don't let the racists win!” The ABC network has made no official comment.

[Compiled from TeleSUR English.]

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