The Change.org petition has more than 22,000 signatures to date

By Karen Mizoguchi
Updated July 06, 2016 10:00 PM
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Credit: Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET

Jesse Williams has issued a response regarding the petition to get him fired from Grey’s Anatomy due to his BET Awards acceptance speech.

Following his June 26 remarks on racial injustice, a Change.org user organized a petition claiming that the actor delivered a “racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people.” The petition has nearly quadrupled with more than 22,000 signatures to date.

“Not a single sane sentence in their claim. Not One,” Williams, 34, tweeted on Wednesday.

“A system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize,” he said on stage at the BET Awards, dedicating the award to the “real organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers and the students.”

According to the petition, “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.”

Further adding, “Why was Burke’s character fired from Grey’s Anatomy after his inappropriate homophobic slur, but nothing for Jesse Williams?”

But it appears Williams won’t be losing his gig on the hit ABC drama, as showrunner Shonda Rhimes previously tweeted, “Um, people? Boo don’t need a petition,” followed with the hashtag “Shondaland Rules.”

Not only has Rhimes expressed her support for Williams, but TV icon Norman Lear has also come to the actor’s defense.

“I’ve seen and attended a ton of awards shows in my time, and no one has ever put his soul and his ass on the line so fully and so truthfully as Jesse Williams did at the BET Awards last week,” Lear told IndieWire in a statement published on Tuesday. “Wither thou goest, Mr. Williams, I will follow.”

Following the BET Awards broadcast, Williams told PEOPLE he hoped to let audiences know they aren’t alone. “Words are only as good as the response to those words. But I’d like to think that I give people a sense that they are not alone,” he shared.