As Allahpundit noted this morning, one of jarring things about the slap heard round the world was that people on all sides had unexpected responses. I saw more than a few Hollywood progressives condemning the slap after it happened.
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) March 28, 2022
Will Smith owes Chris Rock a huge apology. There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris is not filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullshit.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) March 28, 2022
Hey professional comedians: be on notice! From now on, you need to make sure your jokes don’t offend people. Especially extremely attractive, famous and exorbitantly wealthy people!
— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) March 28, 2022
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian.
Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
On the other hand, there were a few people I saw last night arguing that Smith was displaying old-fashioned chivalry.
He defended his wife. It's called chivalry and I'm glad it isn't lost. The only thing I can fault him on is his not closing his fist.
— JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUΔL³³°¹ (@th3j35t3r) March 28, 2022
There’ was an #IStandwithWillSmith hashtag with lots of people saying they took his side because Chris Rock was out of line.
Well, some of those people are going to have to reconsider because as of this afternoon, Will Smith has offered a real apology for his behavior. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable…I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.” He went on to apologize to the Academy and to everyone watching. Here’s the full statement:
Statement from Will Smith which is also posted on his official Instagram. pic.twitter.com/6uWff4MSWU
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) March 28, 2022
I’m sure will Smith has a small army of publicists and crisis communications people at the ready. Maybe that’s where this is coming from. Still, I assume they couldn’t release a statement like this without his approval. So, good for Will Smith. He really was out of line last night and his half-defensive, tearful acceptance speech just didn’t cut it. This is the right thing to say and though it took a few hours he got there in the end.
I still don’t think it’s clear that Will Smith will be able to move forward as if this didn’t happen. He’s a talented guy but his career is ultimately dependent on a lot of people liking him. That goodwill was built up over many years of playing characters who were heroic and often funny as well. What we saw last night wasn’t heroic and it definitely wasn’t funny. In fact, by slapping Chris Rock for telling a joke, he really undercut the idea that humor can be a bit rough and still be funny. The apology is a good start but I think he’s going to have some more work to do to make up the difference between his public reputation and the angry, crude person we saw last night. Cracking a joke at his own expense wouldn’t hurt. I guess we’ll see if he can get there in time.