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What did Shonda Rhimes say about the petition to fire Jesse Williams for BET Awards speech?

Shonda Rhimes and Jesse Williams
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times; Evan Agostini / Invision / AP)

Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter on Sunday to voice her support for “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams, who recently found himself under fire after his acceptance speech for BET’s humanitarian award.

During his speech, Williams spoke of the Black Lives Matter movement, the commodification of black culture and how money alone is not enough to enact the types of social change necessary for true equality.

Though many found Williams’ speech inspiring, others found it offensive and started a Change.org petition calling for Williams, who has played Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” since 2009, to be fired.

The petition, which has garnered more than 7,000 signatures since its creation on July 1, likens Williams to Isaiah Washington, who was released from “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 after Washington was alleged to have used a homophobic slur in reference to fellow actor T.R. Knight.

Rhimes’ first response to Williams’ speech came two days after the June 26 BET Awards in a tweet in which the creator of “Grey’s,” “Private Practice” and “Scandal” quoted Williams: “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

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Days later, after the petition to have Williams fired began to pick up steam, Rhimes returned to Twitter with two successive tweets that served as a succinct summation of how she felt about the entire matter.

First Rhimes retweeted a Williams message that seemed to indirectly address the petition without naming names, calling for people to ignore those who throw tantrums to benefit themselves and not others.

Then Rhimes weighed in with a message of her own all but ending the agitation for her to fire Williams, saying, in so many words, “Nah.”

And with that, the queen of ShondaLand (the name of Rhimes’ ridiculously successful production company, helpfully hashtagged above) and all associated lands has spoken, and Jesse Williams’ employment remains protected from petition-based assault.

“Grey’s Anatomy” returns for its 13th season on Sept. 22.

libby.hill@latimes.com

Twitter: @midwestspitfire

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