what happened with Will Smith is one more of the list of uncomfortable episodes

In the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards ceremony in Hollywood, there have been awkward moments. In 1974, gallery owner Robert Opel appeared naked on stage as David Niven and Elizabeth Taylor presented the award for best picture.

A year earlier, when Marlon Brando was announced as the winner of the best actor award for his role in The Godfather, Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American, took the stage on his behalf and informed the audience that the actor was rejecting the Oscar in protest. because of the way the film industry mistreated indigenous people.

And recently, in 2017, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as best picture when it was Moonlight. All of these incidents seem like a joke compared to what happened the night the 94th Oscars aired.

Comedian Chris Rock was on stage to present the award for best documentary, and in preparation for it, he cracked a few jokes, including one about Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia, a condition for which he lost his hair. Her husband, Will Smith –at that time the favorite to win the statuette for best actor–, laughed, as attendees always do who are already accustomed to this type of joke. But Jada remained serious and upset.

Suddenly, the actor stormed over to Rock and slapped him. Everyone thought it was part of the show, which loses audience every year. But already in his chair, Smith yelled at him “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” There was no doubt. It was true and it happened on the live broadcast.

Despite the aggression, the show continued as if nothing had happened, between the surprise and disbelief of the audience. Ten minutes later, Smith returned to the stage to receive the Oscar for best actor for his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis players Serena and Venus Williams. Although there was no longer any anger in his body, but rather regret, the actor did not take the opportunity to apologize to Rock, with whom he has had a cordial relationship in the past.

Chris Rock is a renowned comedian who has won awards for his talent. Because of the incident, his show’s tour sold out and ticket prices skyrocketed. – Photo: Getty Images

Nor did he condemn the act of violence he had just starred in, instead referring to Richard Williams as a fierce defender of his family. And, in an attitude that was read as a justification for his actions, he said: “The things we do for love.”

The attending public applauded him, a fact criticized by sociologists because it denotes normalization of violence. The reactions to the other day were everywhere. Very few media published the photo of Smith receiving the Oscar, as it would have happened if that night had passed normally.

On the contrary, the image of him slapping Rock appeared accompanied by very different opinions that tried to explain the incident. Experts on issues of race, violence and trauma came out to say that those people who grow up in these environments usually have these outlets, alluding to Smith’s childhood, who, according to his memoirs, experienced violence on the part of his father. . They said that combination of volatility and lack of control was common to many victims of such abuse.

The African-American women’s movement, however, saw the event as a historic moment in which a man finally protects the dignity of a black woman. Victims of domestic violence were angry, because by saying that love makes us do crazy things, Smith alluded to the excuses these abusers use to continue perpetrating their attacks.

Others simply saw a man hurt by a joke directed at a loved one with an illness. A few were spearing against Rock for his lazy jokes and predicted the imminent death of that ceremony. All of the above explains why the theme continued when the auditorium lights went out. What’s more, the situation turned from dark brown as the week wore on, with the voices of Smith’s colleagues on social media and the media condemning him.

Director Judd Apatow was highly critical: “I could have killed him. That is pure rage and violence out of control. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not new to the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind”.

Jim Carrey, in an interview on CBS This Morning, said: “I was grossed out by the standing ovation. Hollywood has no character and I really felt that this is a clear indication that we are no longer the hot club.” Legally, Smith got off scot-free, since Rock didn’t press charges. However, on Wednesday the Academy, which had already condemned the act, launched a formal investigation that could end in a moral sanction and would even mean that he had to return his award.

The actor would have violated the code of conduct for “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and for compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the organization said in a statement.. The preliminary investigation revealed that management acted that night to sanction Smith and asked him to leave the premises, but he refused.

Although the Academy acknowledged that “we could have handled the situation differently”, it pointed out that, within the disciplinary actions, there would be suspension, expulsion or other sanctions allowed by the statutes and rules of conduct. Another board meeting is scheduled for April 18, at which a final decision will be made.

    Ten minutes after the slap, Will Smith returned to the stage to accept the award for best actor.  Although the audience applauded him at the time, many later criticized him for this unexpected reaction.
Ten minutes after the slap, Will Smith returned to the stage to accept the award for best actor. Although the audience applauded him at the time, many later criticized him for this unexpected reaction. – Photo: app

Smith has kept a low profile on social media since issuing his lengthy apology on Monday. “I crossed the line and I was wrong,” she wrote. “I am ashamed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” he added. Although in that apology he also mentioned Rock (“I want to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was wrong and it was out of line”), it was not enough to quell the discomfort caused among the members of the Academy, who are “upset and outraged” .

Meanwhile, Rock, 57, kept quiet after the incident, in part because he was kicking off a Boston tour of his comedy show and in part because the two have worked together in the past.. In 1995, Rock was a guest on the comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which launched Smith to stardom. In 1997, the two men were photographed laughing together at the MTV Video Music Awards. In 1999 they played themselves in Spike Jonze’s documentary Torrance Rises. And in 2005 Rock presented Smith with an award at the Kids’ Choice Awards.

Rock is considered one of the most incisive and provocative of the stand up comedy. He has won three Grammys and three Emmys, and his fortune is estimated at $60 million. This week, the expectation of his tour grew with the incident, so that the box office of 46 dollars per ticket went up to 400. On the opening night he broke his silence. “How was your weekend?” he joked, to which the audience responded with laughter.

“I don’t have much to say about what happened. I’m still processing it. At some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny, but now I am going to tell jokes,” she said, through tears. One more evidence that everyone lost that night.

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