Oscar showrunner Will Packer says the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards was “a very painful moment for me”.
Mith stormed onto the stage and met the comedian in front of a star-studded crowd at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.
Red Table Talk host Pinkett Smith has previously opened up about her struggles with alopecia, saying it led her to shave her head.
The incident sparked tremendous backlash on social media and across Hollywood, with the Academy saying it “condones no form of violence,” and Los Angeles Police Department getting involved.
Packer initially responded to the incident by saying, “Welp… I said it wasn’t boring #Oscars,” a comment that drew some criticism.
He later tweeted: “Black people laugh defiantly when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to explain that to you.
Black people have a defiant laugh when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to explain that to you. But I also don’t mind being transparent and saying that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels. https://t.co/zzgeKIqrHm
— Will Packer (@willpowerpacker) March 28, 2022
“But I also don’t mind being transparent and saying that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
US comedian and former Oscar host Whoopi Goldberg said Smith “made a mistake” and the academy would not accept his best actor award.
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“We’re not going to take that Oscar away from him,” she said on her talk show The View.
“There will be consequences, I’m sure of that, but I don’t think they will, especially because Chris said, ‘Listen, I’m not charging.’
“(Smith) made a mistake… Overreactions, mistakes were made. I think he overreacted.
“He had one of those moments where he was like… just stop it. And you have all the pressure of hoping you win and trying to save face.
“I understand not everyone behaves under pressure the way we would like, some people just freak out. He snapped.
“I don’t know if they spoke or if he apologized or not, I just know sometimes you get to a point and you misbehave.”
Other celebrities defended Smith, with comedian Tiffany Haddish saying the incident was “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
“When I saw a black man stand up for his wife. It meant so much to me,” she told People magazine after the ceremony at the Governors Ball.
“Maybe the world doesn’t like the way it ended, but for me it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there who love their wives, their wives and take care of them. ”
Smith’s son Jaden Smith, 23, also appeared to defend his father’s actions, tweeting, “And here’s how we do it.”
Tennis star Serena Williams, whose father was played by Smith in King Richard, shared a video on her Instagram Story showing her shocked and later admitted she “had to put her drink down.”
Rapper 50 Cent shared a photo of the moment on Instagram and wrote, “Btch you never play with me. lol.”
After winning Best Actor for his performance in King Richard, Smith used his acceptance speech to apologize to the Academy and “all the other nominees” — but not Rock.
Other famous faces criticized the incident, including Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who called it the “ugliest Oscar moment ever”.
He added, “Stand-up comics are very adept at dealing with hecklers. Violent physical assaults… not so much.”
Actress Mia Farrow tweeted: “It was just a joke. Jokes are what Chris Rock does.
“Always nervous. That was a mild joke for him. And I love GI Jane.”
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad habit to go on stage and physically attack a comedian.
Now we all have to worry about who the next Will Smith wants to be in comedy clubs and theaters.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
The Last Samurai producer Marshall Herskovitz urged the Academy to do more than just issue a statement about the incident.
He said on Twitter: “I call on the Academy of which I am affiliated to take disciplinary action against Will Smith.
“He disgraced our entire community tonight.”
Comedian Kathy Griffin suggested that Smith was setting a bad precedent for her profession.
I call on the Academy of which I am a member to take disciplinary action against Will Smith. He disgraced our entire congregation tonight.
— Marshall Herskovitz (@MHerskovitz) March 28, 2022
She said on Twitter: “Let me tell you something, going on stage and physically assaulting a comedian is a very bad habit.
“Now we all have to start thinking about who the next Will Smith wants to be in comedy clubs and theaters.”
Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse, who was born in South Africa, described it as “internally one of the greatest and most disappointing shameful moments of all time” and criticized Smith and Rock.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/oscars-showrunner-says-will-smith-altercation-was-a-very-painful-moment-for-me-41496864.html Oscar showrunner says falling out with Will Smith was ‘a very painful moment for me’