As amazing as Shonda Rhimes's June 7 commencement speech at Dartmouth College was, some online commenters are taking issue with her critiques of hashtag activism — and the Grey's Anatomy creator is firing back.
For context, here's what she told the Dartmouth grads: "A hashtag is not helping. #YesAllWomen, #TakeBackTheNight, #NotAllMen, #BringBackOurGirls, #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething.
Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr King. A hashtag does not change anything. It's a hashtag. It's you, sitting on your butt, typing into your computer and then going back to binge watching your favorite show."
She advised the audience to instead go out in the world and affect the change these hashtags promote.
Now, having apparently seen backlash to those comments online, the 44-year-old has taken to her WhoSay account to respond.
"I see there is some drama about what I said about hashtag activism," she writes. "Which makes me think some of you who are upset did not actually read or hear my speech … I was very clear. That speech I gave? Was for the 1,100 or so students graduating from Dartmouth on Sunday. If you were receiving the privilege of breathing the rare air that comes with getting an Ivy League degree on Sunday, I was talking to you. I was talking to those to whom much has been given, and I was reminding them that much is expected (Robert Kennedy). Hashtags are amazing for raising awareness. But I was telling them to go beyond that and do more. To actively try to give back in a hands on way.
"If you were not receiving a degree from Dartmouth on Sunday? I was not talking about you," she continues. "I wasn't even talking to you. I love that so many people saw and responded to the speech. But as I said in my speech, I was having a fireside chat with my Dartmouth peeps, remember?"
"Have a lovely day!" she says in conclusion. "(Am going back to my hiatus and my Orange is the New Black watching)"
We're huge fans of Shonda, and we respect and appreciate her argument, but this latest WhoSay missive comes off as cordial but a bit attitude-heavy and patronizing. ("Remember?")
It must be frustrating to have your words misconstrued or taken out of context, but perhaps she could have taken a more-bees-with-honey approach with a more deferential tone, maybe even starting off with something along the lines of "I'd love to clarify my comments about hashtag activism…"
What do you think of Shonda's comments — and her response to the controversy? Let us know in the comments below.