Earlier today, Allahpundit highlighted a video of Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes trashing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for allowing Will Smith to stay after he slapped Chris Rock in the face. “For them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of that show … I was like, ‘How gross is this?’ This is just the wrong message,” Sykes said. She went on to share this little story about seeing Chris Rock later that night.
Hours later, after Smith won the best actor Oscar and the show had wrapped up, Sykes ran into Rock at an after party.
“As soon as I walked up to him, the first thing he said was ‘I am so sorry,’ and I’m like, ‘why are you apologizing?’ He was like, ‘It was supposed to be your night…you and Amy [Schumer] and Regina [Hall] were doing such a great job, I’m so sorry this is now going to be about this’…because that’s who Chris is,” Sykes described.
Chris Rock continues to look like the adult in the room in this situation. Maybe that will change at one of his upcoming comedy dates (he has a show tonight in Boston), but his reaction so far has shown real class. In any case, maybe the fact that the Oscar’s host was trashing them on TV prompted today’s reaction from the Academy. They released a statement saying they had asked Will Smith to leave.
Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock, but he refused, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement Wednesday.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the statement said. “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.”
“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,” the statement added. “We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
The Associated Press got the same statement but noted the details were a bit vague: “A representative for the academy declined to give specifics on how it tried to removed Smith.” So we don’t know who asked, how they asked, when they asked, what Smith said, etc. What we do know is he didn’t leave and the Academy didn’t push the point. And that’s the thing that a lot of people can’t really understand.
Another clip making the rounds today is this one from Jim Carrey. He clearly was not happy that Smith was allowed to stay after the slap, telling Robin Roberts, “I was sickened by the standing ovation. I felt like Hollywood is just spineless, en masse.” Roberts pointed out that if anyone else had done what Smith did, they’d have been escorted out. “He should have been,” Carrey replied adding that if he were Chris Rock he’d have already sued Smith for $200 million.
“Hollywood is just spineless.”
Should’ve been kicked out and arrested and sued for 200m.
“Will Smith is selfish.”
Jim Carrey is saying it plain and loud.
— Will Cain (@willcain) March 30, 2022
The Academy is now doing its own review of the situation and will give Smith a chance to defend himself in writing before determining what his punishment will be. But as the AP points out, probably the worst that can happen here is that he’s expelled and even that punishment is largely reserved for rapists.
Only a very small number of academy members have ever been expelled, including Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and the actor Carmine Caridi, who was kicked out for sharing awards screeners.
Whatever the academy does to Will Smith next month will be a tiny slap on the wrist compared to the overwhelming benefits he received by 1) receiving the Oscar and 2) being applauded while receiving it. The one thing the Academy could have done that would actually have made a difference is kick him out and not give him a chance to receive the award and the applause. But it’s too late for that now. They blew it.