Norman Lear Defended Jesse Williams Against 'Racist Hate Speech' Allegations

The television pioneer died this week at the age of 101.

Jesse  Williams is remembering Norman Lear’s impact both on and off the screen. 

The former "Grey’s Anatomy" star honored the creative force behind groundbreaking shows like “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” this week through a touching tribute on Instagram, showcasing a collection of photos and significant news headlines.

Williams hailed Lear as a compassionate and influential figure: “Norman Lear, a gentle man of action who carved trails in culture and consciousness early and often. A soul i came to know, debate, and learn from at a turning point in both our lives,” Williams wrote.

RELATED:  Norman Lear, Creator of 'The Jeffersons,' 'Sanford and Son,' and 'Good Times,' Passes Away

Among the images shared was a screenshot of an IndieWire article documenting Lear’s support when "Grey’s Anatomy" fans demanded Williams' removal from the series following his remarks on racial injustice during his 2016 "BET Awards" acceptance speech. A petition accused Williams of delivering a “racist hate speech against law enforcement and white people.”

Williams concluded his post by expressing gratitude for Lear’s “personal and professional generosity uphill; his use of privilege; his observant leadership in a society molded by the arts. Thank you for the leaps forward.”

Lear, who collaborated with the actor on “American Divided,” told at the time, “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 passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 5, of natural causes in his home in Los Angeles, CA. He was 101. 

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