The Academy claims Will Smith ‘was asked to leave the ceremony and refused’

Maybe it’s just the way my mind works, but as the Chris Rock-Will Smith situation unfolded live at the Oscars, I was really stunned by how poorly Oscar producer Will Packer and Oscar director Glenn Weiss handled the crisis. I realize that they couldn’t do anything to stop the actual slap, but everything that came after it was a case study in bad management. Not one of the three hosts was sent out to reboot the show and address, to the audience, why they were continuing. Producers abdicated their responsibility to Denzel Washington to manage Will Smith. It was a sh-tshow from a management perspective. Which means that a bunch of people have been in ass-covering mode all week. We’ve already heard that The Academy has launched a review of the incident, and now The Academy has issued yet another statement, threatening Will with suspension or expulsion from The Academy. Here’s the statement:

The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.

Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.

Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.

Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.

[From Variety]

Was he asked to leave and by whom? When? Because the journalists in the room noted that Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper, Nicole Kidman, Tyler Perry and Will’s publicist Meredith O’Sullivan Wasson all made their way to Will and Jada in the minutes that followed the slap, and no one else. Variety’s account of the post-slap management vacuum was that producers saw that Will was huddled with Denzel and they thought Denzel would handle it. THR reported that The Academy’s outgoing CEO Dawn Hudson and president David Rubin had a private discussion backstage with O’Sullivan Wasson, and that she went out to speak to Will several times. My guess is that’s how The Academy is covering their tracks, and that no one in The Academy’s leadership asked Will in person to leave, they spoke to his publicist and she probably asked him if he WANTED to leave. That’s my guess.

As for all this huffing and puffing from The Academy now… well, this is one of the reasons why it was so important for AMPAS to diversify its membership. So that it wouldn’t just be ass-covering white bureaucrats sitting in a room, figuring out a way to “punish” this year’s Best Actor winner. Except that even though AMPAS has diversified its membership, the executives and Board of Governors are still mostly white.

Update: Variety and TMZ are now reporting that the Academy’s statement about asking Will Smith to leave was a lie. We will have further coverage tomorrow.

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204 Responses to “The Academy claims Will Smith ‘was asked to leave the ceremony and refused’”

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  1. Lili says:

    Oh boy! this is getting messier by the minute, i wonder what a suspensension would entail, will they take away his statue? or it it just a time out for a few years?

    • Noki says:

      I am guessing the most severe punishment would be declaring his whole WIN to be void. He cant ever be announced as an Oscar winner,he wont get introduced as such in trailers for his future movies. Next year he obviously wont be invited to announce best actress etc I am not sure if they have even carved his name on the statue yet.

      • Trina says:

        You seem so excited by the idea of it. But calm down because what you describe here AIN’T happening. Write it down.

      • Noki says:

        @Trina was that comment for me? The OP asked what might happen so i was given a possibility of the most severe outcome.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Worst punishment is blacklisting him. In the way of any movie he is attached to never gets Oscar buzz. I think those that run the academy think that way.

        He can keep the Oscar and never be invited to vote or contribute or be recognized again. And his name will be poison to films looking for the award.

        No matter how anyone feels about what he did. He opened the door to something award shows aren’t equipped to handle and hecklers could feel emboldened to do the same or worse.

      • Erica says:

        @Trina, you seem to always just want to argue with everyone on here. Noki stated out in her comment she was guessing what the worst punishment would be. What is your problem.

      • Trina says:

        Nah not everyone Erica. Think hard what the people I DO argue with have in common. I bet you can figure it out.

      • SarahLee says:

        Oh BS. Roman Polanski is convicted of raping a child and still received an Oscar. Give me a freaking break. Will IS an Oscar winner, no matter what the Academy says. Goodness.

      • Gloria Veale says:

        He’ll get suspended from participating at Academy functions or committees for a period. Maybe some suggested anger management course.

        He won’t have to give up his Oscar. Who would want the second place Oscar and would they revote for it? It won’t affect his career at all. He’s a money maker and can produce his own vehicles.

      • Dizza says:

        @trina you argue with anyone who doesnt hold the same opinion as you

    • Lightpurple says:

      No. A suspension would mean he loses voting rights and can’t attend events

    • JayNay says:

      the academy’s statement is incredibly cringe considering the discussion that’s been going on the last couple days. They come down hard on Will Smith but spend exactly zero words acknowledging that Chris Rock’s joke was in poor taste. The joke hit a really sensible spot for Black women who often face discrimination for their hair style.
      So basically the academy’s statement just extends their initial reaction, which is that they’re managing this incident poorly. Great job.

      • Southern Fried says:

        JayNay, Rock didn’t disrupt the event so I’m guessing that’s why he wasn’t included in their statement.

      • Catlady says:

        Chris Rock said words, Will Smith should have responded with words, not violence. Do you see the difference?

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Jada received wide praise for her honesty and bravery on her hair loss. Along with being able to carry a shaved head. The woman is physically stunning no matter her style.

        Jada was not judged for her choice and got a lot of positives coverage for it.

    • Erica says:

      You’re just hateful, got it.

      • Smile says:

        Yep very hateful.

      • Purplehazeforever says: not hateful..but when someone tries to repeatedly say the same thing & people still don’t get it or continue to do the same thing, it gets frustrating.

      • Cecilee says:

        Not @Erica trying to pretend having the moral high-ground while avoiding the very blatant issue of racism here.

        Also, @PurpleHaze, that’s rich considering multiple people have been explaining to y’all how the hyperfocus and vigilance around Will is blatantly racist considering all the other atrocities whites have committed on live television with zero condemnation from the Academy

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        The academy has always been racist. Since it was founded. Why is there not a boycott? Why does everyone still trip over themselves to be there and to win?

      • Purplehazeforever says:

        @Cecilee…I stated someone wasn’t hateful but frustrated after trying to explain something repeatedly to a group of people who just don’t get it.

      • ktate says:

        @Trina@Purplehazeforever— please let these white folks have their racism. They come on here thinking that they are “woke” and that they can see things clearly. They 100% can not. They don’t listen to the reasons behind why their statements are racist. It’s not worth the effort because it won’t change anything.

    • Dutch says:

      The Academy would have a hard time justifying stripping Smith of his Oscar while Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Harvey Wienstien, Mel Gibson, et al are still running around with theirs. Not a lot of moral high ground to stand on there. I’m seeing a one year suspension which would cover banning him from next year’s awards.

      • SarahLee says:

        @Dutch – 100%!

      • Cj says:

        They won’t.

        A) none of those men are black
        B) those crimes happened “offstage”
        C) most of those men committed some kind of act towards a girl/women which definitely isn’t seen as serious in the mindset of a lot of the people making the decision.

        They’ve already gone from we’re sorry we didn’t step in, we were scattered around the room and couldn’t plan to “he was asked to leave and refused” so they are leaning into bias of this idea of that there is some threat of a violent black man invading white people’s space against their will.

        They’ll expel him and next year they’ll tout how diverse the Oscars are because they allow a few more people of colour to get nominated. Or, we’ll have another year where there’s almost no nominees of colour as the old school voters punish all minorities.

        It took them nearly 40 years to expel Polanski after sending him his Oscar when he had fled the country. I remember how they didn’t want to expel Weinstein and caved to public pressure on it but have never taken an Oscar back. It’s only taken them days to threaten WS with getting his Oscar pulled or being suspended/expelled.

        They’ll be as punitive as they want to be.

      • Catlady says:

        Will Smith should not be stripped of his Oscar because he earned it. His work in King Richard was excellent and should be recognized by the academy. His behavior at the ceremony doesn’t negate the quality of his performance.

      • Jess says:

        Dutch, I agree – while I’m not sayingSmith doesn’t deserve some consequence, it is a tricky area for the academy given their love of giving awards to abusive white men. And even if you want to argue that’s different than an assault on stage, then they at least need to do to Adrian Brody whatever they’re going to do to Smith. Otherwise it’s just racist and sexist. And I still want the academe y and rock to apologize to Jada for mocking her disease. That’s just gross.

    • Cecilee says:

      This is pissing me off.

      John Wayne had to be held back by multiple guards after Sacheen Littlefeather spoke in place of Marlon Brando, and he was never investigated. In fact, they allowed Clint Eastwood to “joke” about killing Natives right afterward. Nobody investigated him, either.

      Roman Pelanski r*ped a child and received an Oscar, and NOBODY investigated him.

      I could go on, but my point is: whites have gotten so many passes from the Academy for their actually horrendous behavior, be it literal pedophilia or racism. For them to be hyperfocused on Will for defending his wife is a blatant act of racism.

      • FC says:

        Totally agree, but does all that justify not investigating/punishing Will? If anything, it gives the Academy an opportunity to get their shit together and start enforcing higher standards for its members. Progression can only move forward, unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen.

      • MsGnomer says:

        Thanks for your comment. It helps clear up my thinking. I was not an adult when John Wayne behaved like a monster at the Oscars, nor did I hear Clint Eastwood be a racist POS. Will Smith gets a pass from me because of the legacy of these two racists.

      • Robert Phillips says:

        Okay all of you out there sharpen your knives. The Oscars is about the art of making movies. That is what they are there to celebrate. You may not like the actors, directors or even any of the crew even. But if they make an exceptional film that is what the academy should look at. So by that Will, Woody and even Roman should keep their oscars. The problem they have with Will is what he did was at the Oscars and was televised. So all they should do is ban him from attending again. They can’t take away his right to be nominated or be announced as an oscar winner. There are a lot of actors I can’t stand their personal beliefs. But I can like the movies and TV shows they are in. The images on the screen should be all that matters when you decide to watch something.

    • Mel says:

      They’re not going to take away his Oscar. The only thing they’ll do is either expel him from the Academy or suspend him. I think they “asked” if he wants to leave which is completely different from telling him to leave. Of course he’d say no.

    • HeyJude says:

      Oh no no no. They won’t take away his Oscar. Consider for a second actual Nazi Emil Jannings was never stripped of his Oscar.

      They just don’t do that, it’s unprecedented for any circumstance other than a submission rules violation. By the association’s own governing laws it’s not done because an Oscar is won fair and square by a competitive vote of third parties. These aren’t technically AMPAS’ winners to strip, the industry members chose the winners. AMPAS is just the body that facilitates the vote. (I hope I’m explaining that in a way that makes sense.)

      The only circumstances that would trigger a Oscar being stripped is- 1. if they could prove someone somehow cheated to win it (which is ridiculously improbable given their voting procedures) or 2. the nominated film/performances didn’t meet the correct submission criteria. The 2nd one is what happened in the sole occasion where an Oscar has been revoked. (A film that won was submitted in the wrong year.)

      What they’ll do has been outlined in their history. There’s precedence here for sanctions for behavioral grounds- he’ll be ejected from Academy membership and no longer allowed to vote and likely given a lifetime ban from membership. I suspect they’ll also ban him from the ceremony for the foreseeable future considering that’s where the specific incident happened.
      They are probably going to be pretty severe in that because this happened on their own stage and at their marquee event and “under their watch”. They’ll likely think that requires an emphatic response.

      He’ll be very lucky if he’s allowed to keep nomination eligibility, but I think he will because that’s a very slippery slope for the industry to make eligibility based on behavior. A lot of people have done very unsavory things, just like an group of thousands of people. And it’s very hard to draw lines on what is and isn’t too extreme behavior to be excluded from eligibility. OK Will assaulted someone, now does that mean anyone who’s ever assaulted someone in life loses eligibility? What about other rather common crimes- possession? DUI? Are those people going to be excluded? If they get down to this level of behavior, there’s going to be a ton of people ineligible. So it’s just not a likely or viable punishment.

      But he’ll probably go the way of other people who have done really unsavory things and Academy members will just refuse to nominate or vote for him anyways even though he’s still technically eligible for inclusion. Because although the public doesn’t think much of the Oscars, many people in the industry still do and they want to mold it into a organization of real integrity. People are working very hard to pull it away from it’s disappointing past.

  2. Angel says:

    Then security should have escorted him out. If they wanting him to leave, he would have left.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      This! This is what I was thinking, too.

      If they wanted him out, they had the means to do it.

      What they’re actually doing, is they’re trying to figure out which side to take, depending on the reactions of the general public. The vote on who’s to blame is still split, so they’re trying to sit on all possible chairs.

      • Lux says:

        Yes, my thoughts all along. Will actually experienced peak Powerful Male Privilege when people not only failed to restrain him or ask him to leave, he was able to accept his award and party the night away. In that sense, he is one of many.

        THAT to me has always been the most astounding part of the situation: a man can snap, lash out, and hurt someone in full view of hundreds of people and nothing happens to him. Like I said, it has happened before (Adrien Brody, John Wayne) and that just proves what a crap show this whole industry is since its inception. And no, I don’t think they will take anything away from him. There is no precedent for that, as many people have mentioned.

    • Meg says:

      Exactly! Does the academy think the public are clueless enough to fall for this ? They have police and security surrounding the building! They’re covering their asses now but in the moment did nothing. If the hosts didn’t even address it except for Amy’s joke ‘did I miss something?’ then no they did nothing during the ceremony. Jesus what a shit show. It really goes a long way in showing how mismanaged that industry can be yet they want the image of prestige and the best of the best-talent making the work the creatives? Yeah but leadership? Why are they so clueless?

    • FC says:

      It’s bonkers that security didn’t appear at any time during the slap or the commercial breaks.

  3. Noki says:

    So as an actor you HAVE to be a member of the Academy or its automatic when you submit your work for a nomination? I am clueless to the difference between the Academy, SAG ,Unions lol

    • D says:

      No, you don’t need to be a member of the academy to win, but you do have to be a member to vote. The unions are totally different. Unions are labor unions like anything else and all the guilds have different ones (actors have SAG, producers have PGA, directors have DGA, etc.). The Academy is just a body of people who hold these awards every year. You get an invitation to one of the academy’s branches after a certain time in the industry and someone already in the academy has to sponsor you. I’m not sure if it’s an automatic “in” once you win or not, but winning isn’t just for members at all.

    • Lightpurple says:

      No. Anyone’s work can be submitted. You have to be a member to vote. Most actors are not Academy members. They have to be invited to join, same as the other categories. Nominees receive an automatic invitation so Smith has been a member for a long time.

    • Miss Margo says:

      If you are ever nominated for an academy award, you are automatically declared a member. There are also people who have never been nominated, but are invited to become members (many poc have become members this way). So first time nominees this year will be eligible to vote next year.

      Sag is any actor in America. Its the actors union so only actors in the union votes. You could be only in a commercial on TV, and be a member of sag and be able to vote.

      • HeyJude says:

        No, this is not true. Winners don’t automatically gain membership as membership is by invitation only.

        The only thing winners and nominees get is consideration for membership without needing the usual prerequisite 2 current AMPAS members as sponsors for their candidacy.

        Not all candidates are admitted for membership even then though because they still must meet certain criteria and get favorable endorsements from their Branch Executive Committee and then have their candidacy reviewed by the Board Of Governors. If the BOG approves THEN they are invited to become members.

        There is no such thing as automatic AMPAS membership in any way.

  4. Driver8 says:

    These are the same people who awarded Roman Polanski AFTER the rape allegations were proven to be true. The same people who did NOTHING when Adrian Brody kissed Halle Berry without her consent. The same people who keep praising Woody Allen. These are just a few examples I can think of at the top of my head pre-coffee run. I do not agree with Will Smith’s actions, but the Academy suddenly taking the moral high ground is gross and hypocritical.

    • Jayne says:

      I agree with you 100%.

      • Noki says:

        I think the issue here is Wills actions were live and undeniable to anyone with eyes. The people you mentioned,some are still in denial or living in exile. And even with a hundred victims between them no one ‘saw’ anything. Its pretty sad all around.

      • whatever says:

        Also, Will’s actions happened at an Academy event. It’s like how getting drunk outside of work won’t affect your standing at work, but get drunk at a company Christmas party and punch someone, and now HR is involved.

      • Cecilee says:

        Adrien Brody sexually assaulting Halle Berry happened on LIVE TELEVISION and NOBODY, I mean *NOBODY* investigated him.

        Y’all whites need to stop.

    • MsIam says:

      @Noki, what Adrian Brody did was “live and undeniable” and I don’t recall this type of conversation even coming up.

      • ChillinginDC says:

        Say it again MsIam.

        So many people keep saying he did this live on air. I am realizing for a lot of people if they witness it that apparently means it’s worse somehow. Good lord.

      • Cecilee says:

        John Wayne had to be *held back* by multiple guards on *live television* after Sacheen Littlefeather said, “Please stop making charicatures of native people” (in essence, but for real, she didn’t say much). Clint Eastwood, on *live television*, made a “joke” about murdering Native people afterwards.

        Nobody investigated them.

        This is racism.

      • lucy2 says:

        I’d put Adrien Brody’s actions on par with Will’s here. A lot of people laughed Brody’s actions off then, but over the years I think the perception of it has changed. But the Academy didn’t bat an eye at that.

        If they want to “do” something, suspend Will for a year, don’t let him present or vote next year. He keeps his Oscar, as they’ve never revoked one before, including for Kevin Spacey and Polanski, who were both legally charged with horrific crimes against minors.

      • Poisonella says:

        I am gonna show my age but much like the incident the other night once people realized it was not a staged stunt, it did get a whole lot of negative press for Adrien Brody. He never really achieved the success winning an Oscar received at that time. It took awhile for Halle Berry to even admit how traumatized she was and the revelation was so sad.

    • Seraphina says:

      @Driver8, whole heartedly agree with you. I think due to this incident being seen/witnessed and caught on “tape” is what is causing so much more of a stir. Make no mistake, I agree with you.

    • Cee says:

      I was going to post the same thing only in uglier words.

      If they dare take his win back then they should do the same with every problematic, aggressive and criminal person they deemed worthy of a statue.

      I don’t condone his actions but this has really made me consider if the way the Oscars are presented, with hosts taking cheap shots at everyone, mocking their appearances, their private lives, etc,. is any better. Do not provoke people and then act shocked when they react. Producers, directors, everyone at the Academy hold some reponsability as well.

      Also – when will SOMEONE apologise to JADA?

      • MF says:

        “this has really made me consider if the way the Oscars are presented, with hosts taking cheap shots at everyone, mocking their appearances, their private lives, etc,.”

        This is a really good point I hadn’t considered. We need to talk about the boundaries around the jokes at these kinds of events. Jokes about the nominees’ work (such as Amy Schumer’s Aaron Sorkin bit)? Totally fine in my eyes because it’s about their professional work. Jokes about the ceremony itself or about Hollywood culture? Sure, seems relevant to the event at hand.

        But jokes about people’s appearance or their personal lives? Those are low blows and have nothing to do with the reason for the event. The producers need to do a better job ensuring the presenters know what they can and cannot say.

      • TOM says:

        What CEE said.

      • Case says:

        It seems to me like award shows have become so cynical and self-deprecating that it literally makes fun of the people making and enjoying movies. It should be a celebration. This is a huge shift that needs to be made.

      • Becks1 says:

        One criticism the Academy has had to face is that the Oscars are too self-important. So that’s why they want people like Rock, not just to get viewers but to have them make fun of the attendees, so that people at home aren’t just watching an ego-fest. That’s why they want hosts who can also be funny and lately they’ve been going for hosts who are known for being a bit sharper in their routines.

        What they need to figure out is how to make them seem less self-important without letting comedians make mean jokes about physical appearances, illnesses, etc. (even if he didn’t know she had alopecia, it was still a mean joke about her appearance.) And if they can’t figure out how to be funny without being mean, then maybe they need to revamp the whole thing, get rid of hosts, have presenters just present and that’s it, etc. I thought last year’s show was a little boring but overall not too bad.

        Anyway something that has bothered me about this as well is that Jada was not there as a nominee. She was there to support her husband on one of the biggest nights of his career. there was no need for Chris to even mention her name. He could have poked fun at Will Smith without bringing up Jada.

    • HeyJude says:

      You do realize it’s NOT the same people though? The Academy leadership has completely changed or died off from old age since those particular examples and they’ve admitted THOUSANDS of new diverse members while expelling hundreds of inactive older members out of active voting status and leadership positions under new credit eligibility guidelines since the various controversy of Oscars So White and Time’s Up.

      The people you’re attacking for trying to do the right thing now are the people we’ve fought FOR DECADES to get into the Academy and it’s leadership. Denzel, Whoopi, Tyler, Ava, women and people of color.

      That is why they’re finally doing the right things. These ARE the people who expelled f’n Polanski from the Academy!

  5. NMH says:

    The problem here is Will, who should have NEVER hit someone in a prestigious work event.

    • BABSORIG says:

      Thank you NMH, voice of reason. IMVHO, the consequences of Will Smith violence has absolutely nothing to do with who and what skin color sits on what board. This is only about Will Smith reaction to Chris Rock GI Jane joke and making a decision to go physically attack the man. And people can wail all they want about who wasn’t punished, who got an Oscar after what crimes, it doesn’t matter. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Will Smith is just about to FAAFO. If Will Smith hadn’t attacked Chris Rock, Chris Rock would have remained the d!ck that he is and would probably have been forced to apologize to Jada Pinket. But Will Smith made sure to cement and set in the fact that he was the aggressor and Chris Rock the victim, way to go Mr. Smith.

      • Driver8 says:

        Excellent point, Babsorig

      • Trina says:

        LOL this sock act is killing me. Thank you for entertaining me. You’re so good to me.

      • Same says:

        While I agree with much of this comment — to say the ‘consequences’ of this will have nothing to do with the skin color of who sits where is naïve at best…

      • Catlady you’re 110% Correct

      • Case says:

        Great post and I totally agree. No one is suggesting Will is worse than Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. Not at all, and approximately zero people on this board support those monsters. But they can’t be compared to Will’s situation purely because it happened on work grounds. Get in a fight at the Vanity Fair party and nobody would care but the tabloids. Get in a fight on stage at a work event, and HR needs to address it.

        It’s not that it is inherently worse because it was televised. The others being mentioned are far, far worse, and that should go without saying. But you do something inappropriate AT WORK, you do get punished for it.

        Re: Adrien Brody and Halle Berry — we all clearly recognize it now as sexual assault. At the time, I do not remember it being viewed that way.

      • kesley says:

        Thank you @NMH and @Babsorig.

        If Will Smith had stayed seated and when he won his award went up and praised Jada, mentioned her beauty and her courage and grace it would have been a beautiful moment of a man truly defending his wife and making Chris look small and petty. Will would have had massive support and 100% goodwill.

      • Lux says:

        @ NMH and Babsorig Thank you both, for articulating a point that I knew existed but couldn’t quite put my finger on. I have taken to thanking people for being reasonable on this site, which has turned into something that’s hard to recognize. So many really valid points (misogynoir, bullying, assault, male privilege) get lost when people fall victim to common fallacies (if you mention A, you must believe B, therefore you are C).

    • Erica says:

      That’s been my opinion since the beginning. Had they had an altercation somewhere else, it would have been in the news for a day and everyone would have moved on. But he did this at a WORK EVENT on live TV. If I went to a work event and slapped a co-worker, I would have lost my job.

      • Seraphina says:

        @Erica, correct. Had he done this at an after party it would have been talked about and we would have moved on. This was a work event and a prestigious one at that. And I too would have lost my job, right after having thrown my ass out.

      • aftershocks says:

        @Erica: “Had they had an altercation somewhere else, it would have been in the news for a day and everyone would have moved on. But he did this at a WORK EVENT on live TV.”

        I’m not sure what you mean about ‘having the altercation take place elsewhere.’ You think that lessens the deep-seated problem? Hide our failings and our violence, so the white power structure don’t have to see it and get entangled in commenting on it???

        First of all, it’s impossible to police oneself in advance of something happening. It happened in the spur of the moment and Will got triggered, in large part because Chris Rock has been shading and verbally attacking Will and Jada for awhile, and getting away with it.

        Chris not only made the ‘joke,’ he then tried to justify it as ‘a joke.’ Chris was blatantly in the process of saying something else inappropriate, instead of not saying anything at all against Jada, who was there to support her husband. Chris should have stuck to the teleprompter script and avoided his shady snarking against Will & Jada, especially under the circumstances of Will being expected to win an Oscar only minutes later!

    • NorthernGirl_20 says:

      Exactly. I love Wanda Sykes views on the whole incident.

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ I haven’t heard Wanda Sykes’ specific take, but as one of the comedian hosts engaged in often ‘unfunny’ skits, she probably took the party-line of being outraged. There are very deep issues involved here. The conversation needs to be elevated rather than reactionary and ‘taking sides.’ Neither Chris nor Will were in the right regarding what went down. But I blame Chris more for his constant needling of both Jada and Will for reasons that appear to be based in jealousy and bitterness for being rejected by Jada at some point. Chris is the one who DID NOT NEED TO GO THERE at this so-called ‘Work’ event.

        I agree with @Cecilee’s take below that many of the ‘morning after’ reactions are based upon white Establishment views coming to the fore the next day. The Academy is worried about their sponsors and about the white Establishment status quo.

        Bottom line: This was a beef between two black men, one of whom is a sell-out to the Establishment (typified by Chris agreeing to host the Oscars during the year of the #OscarsSoWhite protest). OTOH, Will & Jada tend to be vocal in standing up for their community. Thus, despite being highly successful ‘cross-overs,’ Will & Jada are not easily managed or perceived by the white power structure. Will represents the angry, violent black dude in what happened, which is white America’s worst nightmare.

    • Cecilee says:

      This kinda stuff usually comes from privileged white folks who call the cops on homeless folks for breathing, or Black folks for walking around.

      Your moral high ground about vIoLeNcE when y’all stay silent about all the other actual abusers who have committed far worse atrocities than a *slap* speaks volumes about what you prioritize.

      What’s happening to Will is racism, hands down.

      • Dizza says:

        Heres the thing, Polanski is POS, I can think that and also think that Will shouldnt have slapped Chris. To me Polanski is the WAY bigger offender however he won his oscar 20 years ago. Thankfully society has changed in the last 20 years and now allegations of sexual misconduct are treated much more serious. This to me seems like an out of character reaction for Will, who, over his very long and prolific career has been almost blemish free. When you assault someone (even a slap) at a work event there are consequences but it shouldnt ruin his career and he shouldnt have his Oscar taken away. We cant excuse what Will did, he slapped someone on live TV but we also shouldnt discount 25 years of public life and positive leadership.

  6. Jayne says:

    If he gets a more severe punishment than Weinstein or Polanski the Academy Board of Governors is going to be in a world of hurt because the optics of that are NOT GOOD.

    Note I’m not condoning the slap.

    I’m still very interested why there have haven’t been more calls for Chris to publicly apologize. The slap was bad but the joke was also bad and inappropriate.

    • Lili says:

      I would love to hear a Chris apology, for his poor Joke, but i think that would be an admission of somesort, right now he is on top his ticket sales are through the roof, and he can milk it for all its worth for the rest of his career. in the end Will is the bad guy regardless of provocation, he should have know better. i do wonder what was going through is head as he walked to the stage.

      • Jayne says:

        I’m not sure anything was going through Will’s head. He snapped. Again, not excusing it, but speaking from experience with anger issues (and the subsequent therapy!) I understand it.

    • OriginalLeigh says:

      As others have explained, Chris is not being called on to apologize to Jada because Will’s decision to react violently turned Chris into a victim. An assault victim is not going to apologize. Chris shouldn’t have made that joke, but Will should have demanded that he apologize instead of slapping him. THAT would have made him a hero who defended his wife.

      • Mrazi says:

        Does Chris being a victim mean that Jada is no longer one?

      • OriginalLeigh says:

        No, she’s still a victim but Will took focus from her when he assaulted Chris. I just don’t think that someone who was smacked in the face on international television is going to immediately turn around an apologize. I don’t see that happening…

      • Mrazi says:

        Both Chris and Will will do whatever serves their best interests at this moment.

        It is to the Academy that we look to to solve an incident that happened on their premises and make sure it never happens again. That cannot be done without also acknowledging Rock’s part in all this. The fact that I see no sign of this is disappointing but not surprising.

      • OriginalLeigh says:

        If the Academy acknowledges Chris Rock’s part in this then they should also acknowledge their own long history of creating a platform for celebrities to get on stage and say hurtful things about one another. This has been going on for 70 plus years. Chris is not even close to being the one who does it and it was encouraged by the Academy up until the night that someone got smacked in the face. His wasn’t even the only nasty Jada joke of the night. The Academy should also apologize to Jada and all of the others who have been publicly bullied at the Oscars for many years.

      • Mrazi says:

        I’m here for the Academy acknowledging their history.

        I also hope that as they work out what to do with Will, they can also apply some punishment retroactively re Brody and the rest.

  7. Heather says:

    I bet it happened exactly like you said: WS publicist asked him if he ‘wanted’ to leave not that he ‘had’ to leave.

    But it also could have been that someone at some point asked him to leave and he was defiant and said no. I could see both things happening.

    What’s been lost in this is the hosts. Three women who did – by all accounts – a really good job hosting but they didn’t seem to receive any apology from WS or the Academy. But you know who did apologize to Wanda when she bumped into him at an after party? Chris Rock.

    This whole thing is so sad and shocking. I predict we’ll hear WS is going into therapy soon.

    • Talia says:

      That or rehab (note, I know nothing to suggest he NEEDS rehab but that seems to be the crisis manager action of choice).

    • Kelsey says:

      I’ve never been a fan of Chris Rock but he didn’t deserve to be slapped on a global stage like that. I’ve kinda been on a “welp I see both sides” just because at the end of the day these are celebrities and I don’t know their lives. With that being said, when I saw that Chris Rock was the only one to apologize to Wanda about their shine being taken away from the incident (and really, it wasn’t even his fault for him to have to apologize!) I was just like woowwwww. My heart goes out to him. His joke was in poor taste but it really did not have to go this way and it’s sad that it did. I feel bad for everyone involved. The memes that will come from this will never die.

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ @Kelsey, Chris Rock was out of line first by having the gall to go off script in order to continue directing his uncalled for verbal abuse against Jada, who was only there to support her husband.

        If Chris Rock felt it necessary to specifically apologize to Wanda Sykes, but not to Jada Pinkett-Smith, that does NOT make him some kind of good guy hero! Will apologized to the crowd, to his fellow nominees, to the Williams family, and to the Academy, which includes those hosting the event that evening.

        And fyi, Will is NOT the only person at fault. The Academy holds responsibility for inviting Chris Rock to present an award this year, with the Smiths sitting in the first row, especially after Chris’s 2016 crude take down of Jada. Chris is chiefly at fault for perpetrating the incident by going off-script on purpose in order to needle Jada & Will. By doing that, he also added unnecessarily to the length of the event, which should be frowned on too.

        You saying that ‘some shine was taken away from Sykes,’ is laughable. I didn’t think the skits by Sykes and Regina Hall were all that great. Mostly just okay, not great. Because the pandemic really isn’t over, I felt that the COVID skit was somewhat in poor taste, and it went on for too long.

        If not for the ‘slap heard around the world,’ no one would even be talking about the Oscars as much as we are seeing.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Wait. He took the time to apologise to Wanda but not to the actual target of his bullying, Jada?

      Rock has a long history of specifically targeting Jada and has been asked to stop repeatedly. He didn’t. But it’s Wanda, not Jada he apologises to?

  8. equality says:

    Why are they not announcing how they are going to handle supposed “jokes” and presenters being allowed to say tasteless things about someone? Where is the apology to Jada for allowing that? Is being part of the academy being submissive to being ridiculed?

    • ArtMaven says:

      Every awards show I’ve seen the last 5 years or so has roasted celebrities. In the case of Ricky Gervais, very aggressively. I don’t believe it’s a surprise to any celeb that this occurs and they still attend.

      • equality says:

        I don’t think all still attend and it puts actors in a position where they don’t show up for an award they deserve or put up with abuse. Why should that have to be a decision? Also, it’s complicated for producers who campaign for the awards and may require actors to show up for events related to a movie.

    • JanetDR says:

      I’m still outraged for every woman who was featured in that tasteless We Saw Your Boobs clip. Someone ought to say no once in awhile.

  9. Becks1 says:

    I kind of…..just don’t believe this? I think they’re putting this out now bc so many are asking why wasn’t there security for the stage*, why was Will Smith allowed to stay for the rest of the show, etc. so now the Academy is trying to say “oh no no, we didn’t want him to stay, but he insisted so what could we do.”** My guess is if they did “ask” it was through his publicist and it was a very weak ask.

    *no reallly, why wasn’t there security for the stage? that seems like an oversight.

    **Although I guess once they asked and he said no there wasn’t really a whole lot the producers could do. Could you imagine the footage of security trying to drag out one of the biggest movie stars in the world, who is a black man? that would be….well, it would be bad. (for the Academy.) And I guess that goes back to my first *. Even if there was stage security, they probably weren’t going to stop Will Smith.

    so basically I have no idea but it seems like everyone is playing damage control here. I think the best thing the Academy could have done would have been to cut to commercial as soon as Smith went on stage since the producers at least would have known it wasn’t planned.

    • Bri W. says:

      I don’t believe it either cause it doesn’t make sense and this could have easily been mentioned earlier in the week instead of days later. The Variety article that came out first had none of these details and now all of a sudden they asked him to leave, he refused, and then they allowed him to not only accept his award but to stand there and make a whole speech? Come on now.

    • FHMom says:

      The whole security issue bothers me given how important security is to celebs. I guess that Academy security thought, like a lot of us initially thought, that Will walking on stage was a planned bit. It was not until he started screaming at Rock that they realized this wasn’t part of the show. Perhaps in the future the Academy needs to make it abundantly clear that there is no impromptu bits allowed at the Oscars. If it’s not in the script, then it may be a security breach.

      • Rnot says:

        Prior to this incident, NO ONE would have expected this from Will Smith. He’s not known for erratic, disruptive or violent behavior, so it’s kinda understandable that security assumed it was part of the show at first.

    • windyriver says:

      I don’t buy this either, that he was asked to leave and refused. If it’s at all true they need to seriously review their security procedures, among other things.

      Instead of digging themselves in deeper to CYA, there was an opportunity for the Academy to turn the conversation. They already (rightfully) condemned how Will Smith behaved, and said it would be reviewed and appropriate action taken. Presumably there’s a code of conduct that covers such situations.

      But, other noteworthy things went on at the Oscars. So many here and elsewhere talked about how ‘the slap” overshadowed Tony Kotsur’s win, CODA’s win, Questlove, etc. So. at this point, why doesn’t the Academy highlight things like that and move the conversation along to some of the (IMO very few) positive, heartwarming things at these Oscars? Instead, they seem to be wallowing in an endless pit of woulda/shoulda/coulda and passing the buck.

  10. Evening Star says:

    The discourse around this has become so toxic you need a HAZMAT suit just to look at comments. Will, Jada, and Chris are all privileged in ways no one here can fully comprehend and are wealthy and connected beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. I don’t feel bad for any of the three them, except maybe Chris since he was actually physically assaulted. They’ll all be fine.

    • Robyn says:

      The whatsboutism has been truly wild.

    • theotherViv says:

      OMG. This This This This This.

    • Cheryl says:

      My observation is as the days go by the divisions and tone of the comments are making the investment in identity/who you are vs investment in behaviour/how you act more apparent. There’s an additional division in is this simple vs complexity and context. Lot’s to observe and think about!

  11. Ariel says:

    A lifetime of careful image building ruined in 30 seconds when he showed us who he really is.

    The academy will always do the wrong thing in the name of ratings and a guessing game of how to please – as opposed to any idea of right and wrong.
    But in the end – this is his mess.

    • Barnes says:

      So “who he really he is” is based on one of his worst and most emotional moments and not on the decades he spent being one of kindest and most generous and respectful people in the industry? Interesting.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah if we’re going ahead and allowing people to be defined by their worst actions, I’m pretty sure we’re all f*cked.

      • Cecilee says:

        Right? It’s like these whites can’t stop showing how little it takes for them to clutch their pearls when discussing Black people’s actions.

        WhAtAbOutIsMs—cute, glad to know y’all learned a new buzzword, too bad none of y’all know how to use it correctly.

      • CourtneyB says:

        I think he has that reputation because it’s more of who he is than this action. Yes, he’s obviously excellent at image management. But you don’t become that well liked for no reason. He’s been A list for 30 YEARS. Think how many of his contemporaries have imploded in that time. His actions were wrong. Full stop. But to say he showed us who he really is by them? Totally incorrect.

  12. Trina says:

    Welp. White America have consolidated around Rock. He demeans and attacks black women. Who’s surprised?

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      @Trina I’m genuinely asking, do you think Chris Rock deserved to be slapped in public? Is it you feel as though he’s had it coming for years and Will finally did what many wish someone had done ages ago? Do you feel particularly bad for Jada or is it a black woman in general thing? And did you see the video of Jada laughing when Chris Rock said, “Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me.” Do you think Jada thought, in that moment, that Will had actually slapped Rock out of retribution or that he was making a bit out of it? Because I believe the rest of the audience was laughing because they thought it was a bit, perhaps unplanned, but that it was a joke. I read her laughter as the same–this was a funny, impromptu skit. That is, until Will started yelling at him to keep Jada’s name out of his mouth. I’m really trying to understand the perspective that this has larger meaning to black women about protecting black women, in general. Thank you in advance for your reply.

      • Trina says:

        No thank you. I have done that all week. Four days of this has exhausted me. I’m going back to black twitter and my General Hospital message board. I’m tired now.

      • Tanesha86 says:

        Idk about Trina but I personally do believe Chris deserved the slap and then some. This man has a long history of disrespecting and humiliating Black women for white people’s entertainment. Chris dgaf how much damage he causes to our community or who he hurts as long as white people are laughing, the man sat on stage and laughed his butt off while Louis CK and Ricky Gervais used the n word hard R multiple times. It is absolutely disgusting. So yes I think he absolutely deserved it

      • Erica says:

        Trina also has said for days she is leaving this site but here she is, every day, wanting to argue with everyone who doesn’t agree with her.

      • Tanesha86 says:

        Well Erica I don’t blame Trina considering the comments from WW on this situation. They’re disappointing but not surprising

    • Midnight@theOasis says:

      Reposting this here from yesterday’s thread:

      Excellent article on white women centering themselves in this discussion:

      The Will Smith & Chris Rock Slap Situation Is Not About You

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      @Trina I understand about being exhausted. It’s not your job to educate. I was just genuinely interested in your opinion.

      @Midnight@theOasis Thank you for posting that article. I agree with it virtually 100%. This is not about others and how this triggers them. It’s about what was going on between Rock and Smith, Rock’s apparently history of disrespecting WOC and maybe POC in general, and how it could and should be handled within “the family,” as Diddy said. It was personal and, unfortunately, carried out on a public stage. Viewers can be shocked, audience members can feel uncomfortable, all of that is true. But don’t center yourself in a private matter, “otherize” people, or blow it out of proportion. That’s violence, in and of itself.

      And thank you, @Tanesha86, for your reply. It, as well as the aforementioned article, is clearing a lot of stuff up for me. Honestly, my thoughts and allegiance on this swing like a pendulum all day, but your replies and these thoughtful pieces are helping to slow, if not stop, that clock.

    • Shi says:

      @ Trina Enough with this already. If you tease out how we all have been oppressed (skin color, age, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, religion, illness, attractiveness, wealth, etc.) we have all dealt with the tragedy and betrayal of life and people as individuals. An individual was assaulted on stage by another individual. What you are doing is inflaming tribal tendencies and creating more negativity and conflict.

    • CourtneyB says:

      I’m a WW and was on sm at the time it was happening live. I don’t defend will being physical at all but I had plenty to say about rock. And I said it on a bunch of people’s posts and threads. I like rock as a comedian but that ‘joke’ was cruel and steeped in bad blood. It didn’t happen in a vacuum.

  13. Scal says:

    I don’t believe them. First they said they said nothing, then they said they asked him to leave, then when they got called out it was actually they asked if publicist if he could leave.

    I also think it’s academy vs producers. I think producers wanted him to stay because of good tv and academy heads wanted to kick him out because of image.

    • ArtMaven says:

      Why would they lie when there’s witnesses? I do think the producers didn’t have a back-up plan for an actor assaulting a performer because it’s ridiculous.

  14. rawiya says:

    I wish Will would give the award back and write a letter saying that he can’t “sully” the awards with his abuse and then footnote all the years awards were given to abusers. (No names; no explanations. Just 2021. 2020. 1999. 1998.) Like, they’re doing too damn much. Chris Rock is fine. And still hasn’t apologized to Jada. So he can kick rocks and get slapped again for all I care!

    • ArtMaven says:

      Nah. Take his lumps. Get on with his life. Minimize the drama. Jada and Will don’t need anymore.

  15. Lily says:

    Denzel is a treasure. We don’t deserve him.

  16. Rapunzel says:

    Look, smacking folks is wrong, but I’m sick and tired of folks acting like this was the most despicable, heinous act of violence they’ve ever seen. The outrage has become severely disproportionate.

    And I’m certain nobody asked him to leave… the academy is going hard on Will now because they know they messed up not acting that night, when it would have been warranted and justified.

    • MsIam says:

      People acting like it’s the JFK assassination. But considering all of the other bad behavior that’s tolerated among the academy members, maybe Will should be glad if they kick him out. “As long as we don’t see it on TV!” Jeez.

      • Tanesha86 says:

        The selective outrage is what’s getting to me. People talking about how they’ve never seen such a heinous act of violence on live TV like they don’t watch hockey, boxing and MMA. Rodney King’s beating by the LAPD was broadcast live on the nightly news. The murders of Philando Castille, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd were aired on loop and folks weren’t this outraged. They make me so sick

    • FHMom says:

      I agree. I wish we could move on from this. For whatever reason, Will Smith lost his shit. It doesn’t make him public enemy #1. He is regretful. Everyone, including the Academy, needs to do better in the future.

      • Carmen says:

        Regretful for what? Attacking Chris Rock or the fallout afterwards? He didn’t act regretful right after the Oscars, he was dancing his ass off at the Vanity Fair after-party. Once the Academy started making noises about investigating the incident, was when the regrets kicked in.

      • MsIam says:

        @Carmen, Will was crying on stage when he got his award. I think he was very regretful like most people are when they lose their ish in public. I think one of the people who could most understand this is Serena Williams. I’m sure she understands what it means to do the wrong thing for the right reasons very well. She’s also a lesson in recovery from a bad episode and its not the “end of a career” like some gleefully want to proclaim.

    • ChillinginDC says:

      Thank you. I am sorry, after the mess that was the Capitol coup, after watching numerous videos of showing Black men and women assaulted/murdered etc. this isn’t even in my top 100 things that is going to upset me.

    • Kitten says:

      It is seriously insane how OTT the reaction has been. People seem to really struggle with the idea of actors being sentient human beings, prone to the same emotions as the rest of us.

      • Fabiola says:

        I’ve never slapped someone over a joke or any reason so I don’t think it’s a normal reaction. Will wrote a tell all book. If you don’t want people to talk about you or your family or make jokes then don’t write a tell all. Don’t attend any shows. Stay home.

    • MF says:

      “Look, smacking folks is wrong, but I’m sick and tired of folks acting like this was the most despicable, heinous act of violence they’ve ever seen.”

      Yes, thank you for this. It was one smack to the face. It wasn’t like Will beat him to a pulp.

      I don’t condone hitting people ever. It’s not okay to walk up to someone and smack them. But the language around this (“abuse!!” “violence!!”) is getting highly sensational.

  17. Amie says:

    I don’t buy this for a hot second. The reaction is totally over the top. I’m sick of people acting like this slap/punch was the worst thing ever in the history of man kind. It absolutely should not have happened but the outrage is just ott. And the academy is just ridiculous. They failed to act when it was appropriate and now they’re lying because the outcry is so ridiculously over the top.

  18. TheOriginalMia says:

    I don’t believe they asked him to leave. Too many accounts of what was going on backstage for me to buy this CYA move. If they strip him and allow Weinstein/Allen/Pitt/Affleck to keep theirs, they might as well admit they are a racist organization with different rules and standards for their white winners than their few black ones. Oh, and where in that statement was any acknowledgment of CR’s poor taste in attacking Jada? I must have missed their statement on that.

    • Sigmund says:

      They ARE a racist organization. #OscarsSoWhite isn’t an accident.

      The reaction to this has too often been white people centering ourselves, all too eager to push the narrative of a frightening black man who could be a danger to white women/comedians/our general way of life somehow. And now the Academy is talking about doing things they’ve NEVER talked about before, despite all the predators and dangerous men who have walked that stage and won awards.

      Why? Because Will Smith, a black man, had the audacity to snap.

  19. Normades says:

    Now I’m afraid to see what kinda stunt Kanye will pull at the Grammys

    • ChillinginDC says:

      Kanye got uninvited for exactly this type of stuff they were worried about. What’s he going to do? Sit outside?

  20. ChillinginDC says:

    They literally on Monday put out that they never asked him to leave. Now they apparently did, but the big scary Black man said no. I see you Academy. And it’s not a great look.

    They covering their butts.

    They messed up all around. They should have stopped the freaking show (who cares that it’s going to go over) turned up the lights, flat out told Will/Jada/whole family they needed to leave. Told Chris he needed to leave as well. Had some producer come out and apologize to attendees and those at home and been done with it. They didn’t want to do that because if he had won and they went to his seat with him gone they would have looked bad.

    Wanda Skyes needs a seat. That show was terrible, had the worst numbers ever, but she’s acting like it was some great piece of art that was ruined by Will Smith. No you having Regina Hall out there acting like an oversexed Black woman was a mess. As was the in memoriam, as was having randoms introducing and presenting awards.

    • CourtneyB says:

      At last. Discussing The true scandal—how they messed up the In Memorium worse than usual. The only good part was that cute dog got adopted.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Yes @CourtneyB. John Travolta adopted the cute pup for his youngest son! One of the sweet takeaways from the night.

      + 1,000 @ChillingInDC!!! I agree with everything you said, except I do NOT think it was exactly necessary to ask Will and Chris to leave. FYI, Chris went back stage briefly and joked about being hit by Muhammad Ali, and then he left. He didn’t stick around.

      In fact, although there may have been some boos, I think many of the people in the room had sympathy for Will, and they seemed to separate his deserved acting award from his bout of anger in reacting to Chris’s verbal abuse against Jada. In general, during that evening, most people were stunned and still trying to process what had happened. It’s mainly the ‘morning after,’ when the white Establishment and yahoos who never watch the Oscars started weighing in, that the Academy began vigorously trying to ‘cover their own sh*t.’

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ @ChillingInDC, I especially agree with your last paragraph. A lot of people need to chill and take several seats.

      ITA that Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall were NOT ALL THAT!!! Mostly middling skits. Plus, the COVID yuk yuk was in poor taste, but no one really wants to fully admit that fact. The Oscars has forever been problematic regarding producing entertaining shows. There’s no Johnny Carson or Bob Hope around to masterfully host anymore.

      Billy Crystal, who was so great at hosting, got tired of dealing with the monumental task. So did Whoopi & Ellen, who were okay, but not as good as Crystal. David Letterman and many others, stank. In order to be good, it takes a heck of a lot out of you, with very little return. The entire concept of the Oscar Awards needs a giant overhaul. Viewership increased as people began hearing about the ‘slap.’ Many people didn’t witness the incident in real time, because they weren’t watching.

      • aftershocks says:

        LOL. I just had a crazy thought. The Academy ought to penalize Will Smith by asking him back to host the Oscars next year. It is clearly a thankless task. But Will has enough humor, intelligence, and self-deprecating awareness to take it on. Despite all the pearl-clutchers claiming they wouldn’t watch, ratings would be off the charts! 😋

  21. Tanesha86 says:

    The comments from WW on this whole thing have done nothing but disappoint me. Y’all are too busy grabbing your pitchforks for Will to acknowledge Jada and it’s pissing me off. What Chris did to her was abelist misogynoir and misogynoir is VIOLENT. Not a single person has stopped to think about Jada and how she’s doing which just tells me you don’t care about Black women no matter how much you claim to be allies and intersectional feminists. I’m tired

    • Erica says:

      Did you know it’s possible to think the joke was stupid and lame and hurtful but also think Will shouldn’t have reacted that way? Both can be true.

      • Kitten says:

        But I’m not seeing that from WW, though. I’m seeing most of us focusing on demonizing Smith and perpetuating the *violent black man* trope while purposefully ignoring/dismissing/talking over black women when they try to educate us about the undercurrent of misogynoir in this whole situation. White women want to center ourselves in this situation and make it all about male violence but it’s FAR more complicated than that.

        IMO the best responses from WW have been those of us who just STFU and amplify black women, who most definitely have the best takes here.

      • Nonartistic Diane says:

        Thank you, Kitten. Always appreciate your well thought and reasoned takes. Some people and they know exactly who they are just refuse to get it or acknowledge it.

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      Jada’s pain has been ignored. Her abuse has been justified. I told some friends the other day the attacks on Black women have exhausted me. From Meghan to Judge Jackson to Jada. I am tired.

    • As for me says:

      I’m with the Rev. Al Sharpton who spoke about it this very morning.

  22. Tanesha86 says:

    I’m of the belief that Will was completely justified in his actions not only because of the way that Chris treated Jada but because of his long history of disrespecting Black women which is something I don’t think you have the capacity to understand so please miss me with that. I think Chris Rock is violent toward Black women and white people don’t care because they’re getting laughs off of his “jokes” at our expense and he’s been doing it for years. Chris has had that slap coming for a long time and in my opinion he deserves a lot more than what he got.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Exactly @Tanesha86! I believe that Chris knows he deserved Will’s slap. Even as Will stood up from his seat, Chris was playing the sly jester, mocking and taunting Will to react. Chris thought he would get away with his taunts, as usual. Chris continued his mocking as Will made his way to the stage. Likely disbelieving Will would do anything, Chris said in a sarcastic put-down tone, “Oh, here comes Richard.”

      Another thing I believe is that some people got ‘vicarious enjoyment’ out of witnessing the slap. That’s why the video of the incident has so many views. Meanwhile, many of those same people are knee-jerking and getting on high horses, and ignoring the fact of America’s and of the entire world’s deeply problematic history and culture of much more damaging violence.

      None of my comments are meant to absolve Will for snapping. But I have more understanding and compassion for Will. Chris OTOH, knew exactly what he was doing, and he thought he’d get away with it again. He didn’t. It’s despicable to see Chris being lauded for his negative tomfoolery, and for his years of crudely shading both Jada and Will.

    • Lorelei says:

      @Tanesha86, FWIW, I’m a WW and totally with you on this.

  23. ArtMaven says:

    The entire format of the show is outdated. The show has always been a marketing vehicle for the industry. But with the diversity of streaming formats and changes in release cycles and people’s direct access to celebrity news, it’s an anachronism. It’s never going to get the audience it used to have.

  24. Kate says:

    SURELY they aren’t going to do anything to Will Smith if the Hollywood community still celebrates Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. Slapping someone up on stage, not cool, but come on……. Hollywood has protected WAY WORSE actions. Hypocritical and BS if they go after Will Smith. I am not excusing what he did, but for real – everyone knew Polanski was a rapist but they gave him Best Director or whatever for The Pianist anyway. Honestly, if the Academy does anything other than tell Will Smith “you did a bad thing, think about what you did,” THEY should be canceled.

  25. Kk says:

    Kate, l agree Harvey W has been associated with over 80 Oscars !!!!

  26. A n B fn says:

    A few days before the Oscars Jada said she don’t give a “crap” what people says about her head, she loves her ball head. What happened with Will and Chris is some beef that goes back a long time. That joke does not rise to violence. I’m thinking we will be hearing about the real reason in days or weeks to come.

  27. NJ says:

    If they’re not stripping rapists and abusers of their awards then Will can keep his.

    They can suspend him if they like but maybe they should work on instituting systems that stop stage invasion from happening with contingencies for if it does; and nix the s****y roast “comedy” that always falls flat and lands in misogyny or misogynoir just to prop up some unfunny comedian’s ego and career.

    I’m still waiting on Chris Rock’s apology to Jada.

  28. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I haven’t read all the comments I’m sorry. I’m exhausted lol. Whatever happens, my hope is that they’ll take the whole damn thing into consideration. EVERYTHING. I’m not justifying physical anything. But I am saying a successful woman was ostracized for something truly personal and painful and her husband shut it down. He had asked for it too be shut down before. But this comedian can’t seem to let go. So something unprecedented happened because of a momentary lapse in judgement and control. The only people showing any class were Denzel and Tyler. Yes this will always be the asterisk next to Will’s name, but it was Jada who was insulted. Sure she could probably kick CR’s ass herself, but why should she?

  29. Southern Fried says:

    Will’s Oscar being taken away shouldn’t even be a discussion point. He won it fair and square. His actions have zero to do with the movie. What he did though affects the other winners after his slap by overshadowing their accomplishments and diminishes the team King Richards win, the Williams. So sad.

  30. Baily says:

    Will and Jada are just super messy, and Will ruined the moment for Questlove and his own big moment of winning an Oscar. Chris’s joke was stupid, but overall Chris Rock is hilarious and one of the best comics ever. A great take on this whole thing was on Bomani Jones’s podcast on Monday. Bo was spot on in his comments. I suggest folks listen. The producers did a terrible job at management, I agree, but Will put everyone in a crap position because of his actions. Thank God for Denzel.

    • Kea says:

      Well, I guess if you’re from the protected class, where girls who have been bullied for their dark skin and so-called ‘nappy’ hair have committed suicide, then Chris is hilarious…

    • ChillinginDC says:

      Well one of the other winners for that award just came out and said Chris and Will both ruined the moment. Apparently he didn’t think it was funny that Chris Rock called him “white.”

    • CourtneyB says:

      QuestLove really got sadly overshadowed. I was still processing whether that was scripted or not (since we didn’t get the uncensored version) and couldn’t have even said what award was presented or who won.

    • aftershocks says:

      @Baily said: “Chris Rock is hilarious and one of the best comics ever…”

      Ummm, Chris Rock is NOT one of the best comics ever. He just isn’t! Not even close. Maybe you are too young to remember Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, and Lenny Bruce. Even Don Rickles was funnier because his comedy, while targeting others, was not truly mean-spirited. Robin Williams always had me in stitches, and I miss his presence in the world.

      Chris Rock, IMO, is a middling comic with broad appeal for reasons other than actually being hilariously funny. These days, I appreciate more Trevor Noah, Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert. As problematic as he can be, even Bill Maher can actually be funnier sometimes than Chris Rock. And a shout-out to Joan Rivers too. While not strictly a comedian, Betty White also had great wit and hilarity.

      Chris Rock is more like a modern day Stepin’ Fetchit. Will Smith is harder to categorize, because he’s more of a multi-faceted original. Will Smith is a multi-talented man for all seasons (comic, rapper, actor, entrepreneur). For many reasons, Will is also a troubled soul. In many ways, Will’s traumas and sorrows (sometimes self-inflicted) are representative of the angst of our times.

  31. Mrazi says:

    I almost want the Academy to go ahead and do what they are threatening to do, so that the whole system can fall to pieces. As has been mentioned before white mean have gotten away with doing all sorts of things both on and off stage. This is a performative exercise .

    Will has already explained himself and apologized to all of them and Chris. This is more than any of those aforementioned white men have ever done.

    What the Academy needs to do is reform the way they do the show, make it such that personal attacks and off-script content doesn’t happen anymore. That’s the real change that’s needed IMO. Physical violence is already a criminal act so no need for reform there.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ +1,000!!! @Mrazi: “What the Academy needs to do is reform the way they do the show, such that personal attacks and off-script content doesn’t happen anymore…”

      Exactly! You have got to the heart of the matter, IMO.

  32. Muggs says:

    It seems like there’s so much “the academy” isn’t addressing

    With so many high profile stalking/assault incidents among celebrities how was it so easy for Will to get on stage? I’ll allow that he was close but shouldn’t someone have made a move? Could a random stranger get in & do the same? It seems like every year there’s a story of how someone crashed the Oscars. How do they plan on avoiding this in the future?

    Did they ever stick to a story about the joke? First it was Rock was just reading off the teleprompter, then it was Rock ad libbed it. So are they creating a more diverse writing panel to avoid incidents like this? Are there going to be consequences for presenters who change the script and make cruel jokes?

  33. Shevonne says:

    The reason they didn’t do much at the awards was because then they would get called out for somehow being racist . It’s a lose lose situation. How do a bunch of white dudes handle the removal or an explosion of a person of color without having it become a race scandal? So I understand why they ‘ let’ Denzel handle it.

  34. Mona says:

    I agree with @Dutch

    Considering the kind of people who got to hold on to their Oscars, they would look terrible to strip him of his.

    He may get banned from events and voting. And I think that’s fair you; shouldn’t put your hands on someone unless your life depends on it. He could have dealt with it in his speech afterwards. “Love made me do it” doesn’t hold up.

    I’m just disheartened that in all the media frenzy we’ve lost sight of how these “roasting formats” always seem to pick the usual targets: misogyny, misogynoire, fatphobia etc

    • Twin Falls says:

      “I’m just disheartened that in all the media frenzy we’ve lost sight of how these “roasting formats” always seem to pick the usual targets: misogyny, misogynoire, fatphobia etc“

      Same. This needs to be an ongoing conversation.

  35. Case says:

    If you get into an altercation at work or school, you don’t get to just stick around the rest of the day. You’re sent home. He shouldn’t have been given the option to “refuse” leaving, nor should he have been given the option to tearfully give his acceptance speech justifying his behavior. Surely they had security who could peacefully escort him out?

    The thing that really upsets me about this is that Will ruined *his own achievement* as well as everyone else’s win that night by acting this way. It was so disrespectful to his peers. (Yes, Chris was also disrespectful to Jada and should apologize to her for hurting her about something sensitive, but his comment alone would not have overshadowed the entire evening, including historic wins from the first openly queer woman of color and the first deaf man).

    I don’t think he should lose his Oscar. But I don’t think he should be invited back next year to hand out an award per tradition.

    • Thelma says:

      Please don’t generalize. As a black woman I think Will was dead wrong and selfish in taking attention from Serena, Venus etc. . As I’ve said twice in other posts, I think Chris should apologize to Jada. But I note that they’ve been some vicious jokes at some of these events. I don’t think the comedians are going to censor themselves.

    • aftershocks says:

      @Case said: “Chris Rock’s comment alone would not have overshadowed the entire evening.”

      Oh really? So, it’s just okay for Chris Rock to continue verbally abusing Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and getting away with his f*kery.

      This continued take about the Oscar evening being overshadowed is rather hypocritical. Anything that you believe is being overshadowed is what you should be putting your whole attention on then. Instead, you continue with the so-called ‘overshadowing,’ complaint by keeping your attention so fixed on the ‘slap heard around the world.’

      The ‘slap’ is the incident many people are over-fixating on, instead of placing it into perspective, while giving equal attention to what they feel was positive about the awards show. Maybe this is because more than half of the people commenting on the ‘slap,’ didn’t watch the Oscars.

  36. AmelieOriginal says:

    I have great sympathy for Will Packer and Glen Weiss (I was surprised to see Glen Weiss was white which was really annoying given this was the first all black production team of the Oscars ever), but especially Will Packer. What happened was not his fault and NO ONE could have been prepared for Will Smith’s reaction and the fallout from it. The fact it just HAD to happen the first time an all black production team produced the Oscars is so infuriating. All their efforts are for naught due to one Hollywood actor’s emotional outburst and physical assault. The conversation around the 94th Oscars will never be about the fact it was the first time an all black production team was responsible for the event, it will always be about The Slap. And of course the fact that it was a black actor involved makes it even more complicated.

    Maybe we can blame Packer for not approving Chris Rock’s joke or having him stick to a script, I dunno. But he can’t be blamed for how Will reacted IMO. Will did include the producers of the show in his apology because he knows unfortunately his actions represent the black community at large which isn’t fair. I also don’t think it’s fair to put this completely on Will Packer or his production team either. What a complicated mess.

  37. candy says:

    My first thought was Nicole Kidman?! But then I realized Scientology…

    • Cava 24 says:

      Nicole Kidman was only involved in Scientology when she was married to Tom Cruise. And her discomfort with it was apparently one of the reasons their relationship failed.

      • candy says:

        Right, but that’s how she would know Will Smith well enough to involve herself.

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ I’m not sure why you think Nicole Kidman ‘involved herself,’ simply by going over to console Jada Pinkett-Smith during a commercial break?

        In a screen shot circulating on the Internet, Nicole Kidman looked absolutely horrified in the moment when the ‘slap’ occurred.

  38. Guest says:

    These endless discussions about the slap are tiresome. It’s a bonanza for news outlets cause 💵💰. I wish more people would be Daniel Radcliffe and just not comment.

    “Daniel Radcliffe on what he thought about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock “I saw it, I’m just so already dramatically bored of hearing people’s opinions about it, that I just don’t want to be another opinion added to it.’

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Thanks for sharing, and kudos to Daniel Radcliffe. The reactions and over-reactions to the slapping incident may not be exactly ‘boring,’ but they definitely are more than enough already!

  39. Jess says:

    I just saw on twitter tmz is reporting that this claim by the academy is a lie. The academy is messy and awful in so many ways, they’re going to make the HFPA and the golden globes look good by comparison!

  40. Cava 24 says:

    The Academy has endorsed a lot of people who are abusive and have committed crimes but they have been attempting a course change recently. They aren’t great at it but it comes down to the leadership, membership and their current policies. I don’t know what the right answer is here but institutions can and should change. A recent example of someone who should never have been nominated, much less have won, would be Casey Affleck. It’ll be interesting to see what they do about Shia LeBoeuf and Jeremy Renner in the future, if they are in acclaimed roles. The public nature of this happening at their event means they almost have to do something.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Hmmm, then I wonder what they are planning to do about the first Best Actor Oscar winner, Emil Jannings, who, in addition to being a Nazi co-operator, was a very unpleasant fellow generally. And what about all the racists, anti-Semites, wife beaters, rapists, alcoholics, misogynists, violence advocates, and other imperfect people who won Oscar awards?

  41. Delphine says:

    The only reasons I can think of for the way the Academy responded in the moment, and this is not a justification, are that they were genuinely stunned and didn’t know quite what to do, if they had him escorted out it would have made an even bigger scene, the optics of having a Black man and best actor winner escorted out would have been really bad, and there’s the mentality of “the show must go on”.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Escorting Will Smith out minutes before the Best Actor award was announced would not have made much sense. The slap happened, and then Will was back in his seat yelling at Chris, and then the event carried on with no further outbursts by Will and no further verbal assaults by Chris. I don’t see the point in Will being made to leave when everyone knew he was bound to be the Best Actor winner in mere minutes. Who would have been put into the position of accepting the award for him if he wasn’t there?

      Denzel W. and Tyler Perry helped calm things. The incident happened before anyone knew what was happening. Many people thought it was a planned skit. Some people on social media refused to believe it was real, well after it was clearly apparent that it was actually drama in real life.

      The Academy’s first response was that ejecting Will had been discussed and quickly rejected. Since then, the Academy has said a ton of things that don’t add up.

  42. Ameerah says:

    I see the level of WW cognitive dissonance is alive and well on this thread despite the four days long discussion on this forum and others.

  43. jferber says:

    I just saw on TMZ that 3 witnesses claimed the Academy never asked Smith to leave.

  44. HeatherC says:

    If the Academy really wanted to, they could have removed anyone from the show at any time. Where was the security when Smith got up to go to the stage? Did they think he was going to give Rock a kiss of appreciation? If people are labeling this a work event and that’s why Smith should be punished, then the Academy holds responsibility for not ensuring a safe work environment.

    No, he absolutely should not lose his Oscar and it’s silly talk to even suggest that. He won that Oscar. His name was in that envelop before the first limo pulled up to the red carpet, it has nothing to do with Rock, or even Smith personally. He did his job in that movie and he did it f’ing well and was duly recognized for it.

    Rock needs to apologize to Jada, but more than likely if it is ever offered, that apology will be offered in private. But I think he shouldn’t be invited to speak at any Academy functions if this is what comes out of his mouth (I haven’t followed his work, I don’t know). Punching down on someone’s medical condition is abhorrent and cowardly to begin with. My kid is special needs, and my personal project is lecturing people against using the “r” word as a punchline or an insult. Same concept applies here.

    If the Academy thinks it needs to “punish” Smith, they can choose to not invite him to future events or such. They’re a private institution, but I doubt they will for the same reason I don’t know that blacklisting him will work. He’s a known marquee name, now with an Oscar, who can span genres. I think he’s still got some incredible work inside him and I want to see it.

    So there are the thoughts from this white chick.

  45. Eurydice says:

    I don’t know why anyone would think the Academy would take away Will’s Oscar – that’s just stupid, considering all the foul humans to whom they have given awards. Will made an embarrassing mistake, he apologized and Chris Rock doesn’t want to press charges. I think Chris should have apologized, too, but that’s on him. Jada deserves an apology from everybody.

    The Academy is a fusty, dusty, creaking institution that still hasn’t figured out what to do with itself in 21st century. This situation has opened all the different issues that they haven’t addressed adequately – and the lame way they handled the Oscar show by disrespecting the people behind the scenes, by not dealing with the situation when it happened and the way they’re handling it now – it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know that this fossil can be fixed. In the mean time, they’ll probably take the easy route – not let Will present next year and maybe have him make a contribution to one of the Academy charities – and make sure there are no unscripted moments in their bloated telecasts.

  46. HK9 says:

    The Academy has given awards to and applauded rapists. They have no moral ground here. They need to let this die and move on. Will made an apology and Chris didn’t press charges. It’s over.

  47. Ms_TShady says:

    @Noki A conviction for literal child buggery is somehow ‘deniable’?!!

  48. Renee' says:

    There is NO WAY the academy asked him to leave. I felt it was a lie when it started being reported yesterday. They are just trying to cover themselves. They did nothing and don’t want to own up to that.

  49. girl_ninja says:

    Now they’re saying the Academy did NOT ask Will to leave. Messy ass.

  50. Jessica says:

    Daniel Radcliffe has been trending for hours for NOT commenting on the slap and being bored with the situation.

    • Twin Falls says:

      “Daniel Radcliffe saying he doesn’t want to add to the will smith/chris rock discourse and then that response of non-responding going viral is the most twitter thing ever.”

      But good on him for trying.

  51. Mcali says:

    Nothing much will happen to Smith or Rock. I do think the Academy is gonna get major blowback. Messy messy.

  52. Rnot says:

    He gave an Oscar-worthy performance in the movie and that performance was recognized by the voters. His performance at the awards doesn’t undo his performance in the film. Taking his award back after the fact is totally out of proportion to the offense. A suspension for one-year seems more likely.

  53. NJ says:

    The comedic “roasting” doesn’t work and the Academy needs to stop doing it; it’s invariably tacky and tone deaf, and ages like milk. Also stop being snobs and ignoring whole genres because they’re not considered “Oscar-worthy” by the aging membership that wants to gate-keep. They’re exactly why no one cares about these awards ceremonies beyond advertising, and turns them into back-patting nepotistic circle jerks.

    Chris should apologize to Jada and stop mentioning her and any women’s – but Black women’s in particular – bodies in his material entirely. He should also stick to his script if he has NVLD and can’t read a room.

    Will should apologize to Chris (and I’m sure he’d be happy to *after Chris apologizes to his wife*).

    The Academy should stop claiming they asked Smith to leave when they sat on their hands for optics, and take their L. Then fine or suspend Smith but if they’re not retroactively stripping criminals and rapists of their awards Will doesn’t need to lose his either.

    Then we can all move on from wringing hands over this cluster**** because we’re bored. Certain groups are twisting and milking it for dog-whistle bs and it’s getting tiresome watching people fall for it when they don’t care or grasp the nuances for the Black community. Both Rock and Smith were in the wrong.

  54. SourcesclosetoKate says:

    Just asking a question. But a lot of wills work can’t be critiqued because he’s an actor, he reads off scripts, these scripts are created edited and approved by a team no? But Chris rock is a comedian he has to put himself out there, he writes his own stuff basically, no team helping him. Thus opening himself up for criticism.

  55. Kkat says:

    I think Will could have sliced rock to pieces verbally and been more effective.
    But this is far from the first time rock has gone after jada.

    I think the Academy is hugely to blame after what rock said about Jada at the 2016 oscars, why would you want rock back when will was up for an award if they didn’t want some conflict.

    But rock in 2016 went after Will and Jada for boycotting because of the racism, the Oscar so white protest.
    He in particular went after jada.
    Why would a black man mock other black people (but mostly a black woman) for protesting racism in the workplace, because the Academy awards is part of the job.

    So he’s cool with white guys saying the n word with the hard R, mocks black people for standing up to racism in the workplace, ridicules multiple black women over the years for their appearance

    No one should get hit, but Rock is still a piece of shit.