9:30am PT by Chris Gardner
What Happened After 'Grey's Anatomy' Showrunner Got Personal About White Privilege on Twitter
Just after 9 a.m. on June 15, at the start of a new week, Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 showrunner Krista Vernoff posted an 11-tweet thread detailing past experiences, or lack thereof, with police.
The encounters included getting booked at 15 for stealing “thousands of dollars” of merchandise but never handcuffed; pulled over for drunk driving at 18 but getting out of it by faking asthma to avoid a breathalyzer; being lightly reprimanded and sent home by police after punching a guy in the face “standing two feet from a cop”; and between the ages of 11-22 being chased or admonished by police for drinking and doing drugs on private property or in public.
The revelations served to illuminate the ways white people are treated by law enforcement in the wake of yet another killing of a Black person by police: Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, on June 12. “I’m asking the white people reading this to think about the crimes you’ve committed,” Vernoff posed. “You don’t call them crimes. You and your parents call them mistakes. Think of all the mistakes you’ve made that you were allowed to survive.”
The thread went viral, with more than 128,000 retweets, among them filmmaker Ava DuVernay who replied “This is a white woman talking honestly about her experiences and it’s one of the best threads on the criminalization of Black people that I’ve read lately.”
As for Vernoff, she tells THR: “The thread going viral necessitated some conversations with my three teenagers. Those were stories from my life that I had not yet shared with them. The fact that there have been no career ramifications and only support from my peers in Hollywood is another reflection of my white privilege.”
When I was 15, I was chased through a mall by police who were yelling “Stop thief!” I had thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise on me. I was caught, booked, sentenced to 6 months of probation, required to see a parole officer weekly. I was never even handcuffed.— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) June 15, 2020
The officer laughed then asked my friends to blow and when one of them came up sober enough to drive, he let me move to the passenger seat of my car and go home with just a verbal warning.— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) June 15, 2020
When I was twenty, with all of my strength, I punched a guy in the face -- while we were both standing two feet from a cop. The guy went to the ground and came up bloody and screaming that he wanted me arrested, that he was pressing charges.— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) June 15, 2020
Between the ages of 11 and 22, my friends and I were chased and/or admonished by police on several occasions for drinking or doing illegal drugs on private property or in public. I have no criminal record.— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) June 15, 2020
I’m asking the white people reading this to think about the crimes you’ve committed. (Note: You don't call them crimes. You and your parents call them mistakes.) Think of all the mistakes you’ve made that you were allowed to survive.— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) June 15, 2020
A version of this story first appeared in the July 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.