Oscar Scandals 2022: Academy statement on Will Smith’s slap stirs an internet uproar

Academy statement on Will Smith’s slap stirs an internet uproar

The internet was stunned that Smith had been asked to leave the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood after the assault, and that even after he refused, Smith was still given the Oscar for lead actor and allowed to make an acceptance speech all the same.

After Smith was announced as the lead actor Oscar winner for his role in “King Richard,” the actor gave a speech more than five minutes long. He apologized to the academy, his fellow nominees, but notably not to Rock. It wasn’t until the next day that Smith called his actions “inexcusable” and apologized to Rock.

The academy did not specify what type of disciplinary action it might take, but as speculation ramped up online, so too did the number of people arguing that any disciplinary action might be seen as unfair, given the academy’s track record.
Questions of Racial Equity?

“The Academy is moving to expel its first Black actor to win the lead actor Academy Award in 15 years,” writer Juwan Holmes speculated, suggesting that sexual harassers and domestic abusers within the academy’s ranks received less scrutiny.

Film writer Robert Daniels noted, “Lots of gum smacking from an organization that still counts Mel Gibson as a proud member.”

“The academy called Smith’s actions a ‘deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness.’ OK, again, not great behavior from Will Smith. But ‘traumatic’? Watching footage of a police shooting is traumatic. Surely they mean ‘dramatic.’”

No matter what decision the Academy takes, it’s going to stir controversy within and without the film industry.  I don’t envy the unenviable position (and ordeal) of the Academy.