A famous actor punches someone and his colleagues immediately apologize: We learned at this year’s Oscars that powerful Hollywood men have always been able to do more or less whatever they want. So much for the ultimate message of the MeToo scandals of recent years, which should captivate those prone to unacceptable behavior. Will Smith punched someone live on TV and got away with it because he is Will Smith. This is the event that the 2022 Oscars will be remembered for.
It was the impunity that was so shocking at first – the mere fact that Smith believed it was something he could just execute and then take his place again. But what was even more shocking in the seconds and minutes that followed was the realization that he had been right. During the ensuing intermission, actors and footmen flocked to help and comfort Smith, not Rock, who immediately stared backstage, presumably seeking help that never arrived.
Yes, his joke — made at the expense of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia — was in bad taste. And yes, it wasn’t Rock’s first dig at Pinkett Smith. (At the 2016 ceremony, which the actress boycotted for her lack of diversity, he said, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”)
But why didn’t Smith think of hitting back in his best actor acceptance speech that would almost certainly follow a few minutes later? The answer was that he knew he didn’t need to: Hollywood’s old defenses would kick in and his mess would be quickly cleaned up. In that deeply tense acceptance speech, Smith may have apologized to the Academy and his fellow candidates, but not to his victim. And the fact that he danced happily at the Vanity Fair after-party a few hours later while telling reporters it’d been “a lovely night” suggested regrets weren’t high on the to-do list was standing.
Will he be held accountable at a later date? Don’t hold your breath.
Few spoke out on condemnations: One such voice belonged to director Judd Apatow, who first tweeted that Smith’s actions “may have killed the comedian,” adding, “This is pure out-of-control anger and violence… You are not new to the world of Hollywood and comedy. He’s lost his mind.” Perhaps there was a quiet talk about Team Will, or at least Team Let’s Not Rush To Judgment, Guys, being the best side – because the tweet was quickly deleted.
For those of us watching at home, however, the reality was depressingly simple. It was a moment of shame for the star and the Academy.
Why don’t you jump to your wife’s defense, asks Afua Hagen
In a way, Will Smith warned us that the 2022 Oscars wouldn’t be just another awards show. He even announced on Instagram that he and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, “got ready to vote mayhem” as the couple prepared for the most glitzy awards show since the pandemic. And they chose chaos.
This should have been Smith’s night. But just minutes before the award was announced, for which he was hot-tipped, Smith’s night came to an end. And while I don’t condone violence in any way, shape or form, I can understand how the King Richard star slapped Chris Rock in the face at the end.
For my part, I’m tired of hearing about black women being publicly criticized, but I was particularly appalled to hear it on Hollywood’s biggest night. Apparently, Smith was fed up with that too, jumping to Ms Jada’s defense for the “joke” about her looks, where she was the punch line.
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And in the face of such an ugly and hurtful comment, why wouldn’t you jump into your wife’s defense? I would certainly want to defend any of my loved ones against a derogatory remark. Especially one that was made public and made fun of an illness. In the words of @TherealNihal on Twitter, “Words hurt, and so does a slap in the face.” The joke hurt even more because Chris Rock is making a documentary about black women and the struggles they face, particularly in Regarding her hair, has rotated. So he knows firsthand what an emotional subject it can be — certainly not fair game for cheap laughs — but he decided it was a useful comedy target.
We’ve been the butt of too many jokes for too long. Who can forget former This Morning host Eamonn Holmes, who guest Dr. Zoe Williams said her afro hair reminded him of “an alpaca” and he just wanted to pet it, or E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic said actress Zendaya’s locks “looked like they smelled like patchouli and weed.” These microaggressions take their toll.
Beating someone on stage at the Oscars, for whatever reason, is certainly not the right way to send a message. I would have preferred Will Smith to have defended his wife with words if he felt he even needed to. And if Pinkett Smith had been the one to deliver the slap or a well-deserved rebuke, who among us could blame her?
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/will-smith-vs-chris-rock-and-the-oscars-slap-heard-around-the-globe-41497727.html Will Smith versus Chris Rock and the Oscar gossip that’s being heard around the world