(MEDIA GENERAL) — One week after “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams went viral for a fiery speech at the 2016 BET Awards, a petition has been filed calling for ABC to remove Williams from the long-running drama.
Williams, who was accepting an award for his humanitarian work, drew national attention for speaking out against police violence and critics of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job,” Williams said in his speech. “If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”
The petition, opened by someone named Erin Smith, calls for ABC to fire Williams from his role as Dr. Jackson Avery for what they believe was a “racist, hate speech.”
Said Smith: “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.”
As of Monday morning, the petition has more than 3,500 signatures.
Williams joined the cast during the show’s sixth season. “Grey’s Anatomy” was picked up for a 13th season last March, which will debut this September.