I have refrained from commenting on “the slap heard around the world”. I did so because I did not want to add to the clamor. But clearly, this is not going away. I admit however that I am embarrassed as much by the act as I am about the response to it. Perhaps it’s a generational thing that I don’t yet understand so please help me out here.
A man slapped another man on nationwide television (an estimated 13+ million viewers) and people think that was in some way, in any way justified? I don’t care what he said. Chris Rock is a comedian. As I have often said comedians are our modern-day prophets. Did he cross the line? Comedians do not have a line – nor do prophets. They push the envelope at every opportunity because that’s what they do. No one has the right to jump on the stage and physically assault a comedian – period.
The Part That Many Have Missed
Will Smith got a standing ovation – this was after he physically, criminally assaulted another person in front of 2,500 witnesses. It appears that he received applause because he won the Oscar for best actor. But was it really because of the award? Consider this: most of the guests at the ceremony were members of the organization and presumably were present at the 2016 Oscar ceremony. So is it so hard to believe that just maybe they were applauding because Will had slapped the s**t out of a man who called them racist. It took six years, but they got their revenge by the hand of Will Smith. For those of you who are saying that’s too far-fetched ask yourself is it more far-fetched than believing that Will was defending his wife’s honor?
In 2016, Chris Rock hosted the Academy Awards. It was at a time when the # #OscarsSoWhite controversy was raging. Chris gave the Academy and the nearly all-white audience “what for”. And those of us who watched, myself included, watched only because Chris Rock was going to be the host. He did not disappoint. Chris stood tall! He opened up with “Fight The Power”. It was “on” from there. He gave it to them with both barrels. He made me proud. And I love Chris Rock until this day. I have included a full transcript of his opening monologue. In it he also talked about Jada and Will Smith. Here’s what he said:
“But what happened this year? What happened? People went mad! Spike got mad. Sharpton got mad and Jada went mad, Will went mad. Everybody went mad! It’s crazy! Jada went mad. Jada says she’s not coming. Protesting. I’m like, “Ain’t she on a TV show?” Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited! Oh, that’s not an invitation I would turn down!
But I understand! I’m not hating. I understand you’re mad. Jada’s mad her man, Will, was not nominated for Concussion. I get it. [Impersonates Will Smith’s character] “Tell the truth!” I get it! You get mad. Said “It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated!” You’re right! It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West! OK? [Ouch!].
After the 2016 Oscar ceremony, Jada Smith is reported to have said in response to a question about Chris Rock’s remarks “It comes with the territory, sweetheart,” . . . “Hey, look, it comes with the territory, but we gotta keep it moving.” Clearly, this was not about Chris’ remarks at this year’s Oscar. Why? All he said was “Jada, I love you — ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?” Assuming this was an insult it did not merit a criminal assault. Perhaps more importantly Jada Smith said prior to the Academy Awards ‘I don’t give two craps about what people feel about this bald head of mine, . . .’Cause guess what? I love it.”
What Should Be Done About The Slap?
Arrest and prosecution
I think that Will should have been arrested and prosecuted. That Chris declined to press charges is a tribute to his integrity. Contrary to popular belief he can still be prosecuted even without Chris filing a complaint… One observer said that the Oscars are not the hood. I agree. I was born and raised in the hood and if a man disrespects your wife you would certainly step to him. But there would first have to be an insult paired with a battery to warrant a violent response.
If it is true as some have argued that Will Smith had a momentary emotional breakdown then he needs to seek counseling immediately.
Forfeiture of His Best Actor Award
He should be penalized by the Academy. I do not believe he should forfeit his Oscar. As reprehensible as his action was, it was after he won the award. Perhaps suspension for a period of time. A lifetime ban would be too much.
Will Smith’s net worth is estimated at $350 million? He has no defense for his actions and any attorney would take the case. If he slapped anyone else, they would already be in court.