There has been a lot of talk this week about the slap heard round the world when actor Will Smith smacked Chris Rock during the Oscars. I gave this about a day of my time before I started to get annoyed at the coverage on this story. First I want to address what my views are on the situation and then tell you why it has me so peeved.
My views on the entire issue is that it should have never happened and both individuals were wrong. Chris Rock made a comment about Will Smith’s wife, who suffers from alopecia, and the fact that she has a buzz cut like G.I. Jane. The “joke” was in poor taste as you don’t joke about someone’s physical condition. This is just common sense. Likewise Will Smith should not have “punched”, which to me looks more like a slap but I digress, Chris Rock. This harkens back to a Neanderthal thinking that we should all be past by this point. Will Smith has for decades cultivated that he is offstage a kind person and it is a shame that this will be a highlight of his career.
Now for what has me so peeved every time I hear the news on this…
In 1973 Marlon Brando rejected the Oscar because of the protests at Wounded Knee and the continual dehumanizing of indigenous people in the film industry. This caused such an uproar when Sachsen Litttlefeather made the speech, on behalf of Brando, and conveyed these views. So much to the point that John Wayne, the All American Cowboy personified, was about to accost her on stage. It took six people to hold him back from this woman. Yet Will Smith with one punch was the worst thing that happened at the Oscars? How about the time that they awarded the Oscar to a convicted rapist in 2003, or when they refused to strip Harvey Weinstein of his Oscars. Yet everyone was up in arms about a single slap that settled everything once and for all on the stage.
There have been talks about Will Smith being stripped of his Oscar, being asked to leave, or being kicked out of the Academy. I don’t think any of these things should have happened until they reexamine the rest of those individuals from the past. I also don’t think Smith should have resigned from the Academy, which as of this writing he has said he is going to do. There is a long history of injustice in the Oscars and if you use Will Smith as the one instance that you want to follow the rules and stand your moral grounds of no violence, then you need to do some fixing of your own Academy history.
Furthermore we all have given ourselves to following the news about Will Smith, when we should be focusing on the more important things that are going on in the world. Right now we have extremist Christians who are attempting to set up theocracies, there is a war in Ukraine, the nations equality standards are about to step back 50 years, and that’s not even addressing the attempts to strip women the right of bodily autonomy. There are too many more issues that we need to be addressing rather than focusing on two people who had a scuffle and settled it.