Smith & Rock Oscars Incident Aftermath

Smith & Rock Oscars Incident Aftermath

by Sue Jones
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Smith Rock Oscars Incident Aftermath
Warner Bros. Pictures

ABC wanted an Oscars that got people talking, well it has but probably not in the way they wanted.

The morning after this year’s ceremony, discussion about the night across global news networks remains centered not around the winners or the honors, but on ‘The Slap Seen Around the World’ with actor Will Smith face slapping and subsequent yelling at presenter Chris Rock following Rock’s ill-advised joke at the expense of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith.

In the hours since, talk has turned towards the consequences of that event with Deadline reporting that Rock has decided not to file a police report against Smith.

Reports from the room (via ET Online) indicate Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry came over to speak with Smith, along with his publicist, after the incident and no one in the theater tried to remove Smith from the venue.

Minutes later, Smith was back on stage accepting his anticipated Best Actor award for “King Richard” and apologising to both the Academy and his fellow nominees but pointedly not Rock. He and his family subsequently went to the Vanity Fair party, Smith not taking questions in the press room.

In the wake of the incident, countless memes and reactions have been generated with the discourse running along several lines from plenty of condemnation of the assault to disgust, frustration and/or sadness over Smith’s behavior to brandings of it being the ‘ugliest Oscar moment ever’.

Others have chastised Rock for the joke about Pinkett-Smith’s shaven head – the result of a medical condition she has been public about for several years. Pinkett-Smith herself during the ceremony rolled her eyes immediately after Rock said his “G.I. Jane 2” joke.

There’s also been discussion of the larger implications of all this with several comedians like Kathy Griffin and Hal Sparks expressing concern on Twitter of potential copycats trying to be the ‘next Will Smith’ amongst audiences of stand-up comedians.

The big question is how will the Academy respond to this and proceed going forward – whether that includes any censure of Smith. The official account of AMPAS put out a brief statement saying: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form”.

For now, there’s going to be plenty of discourse to come.

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