After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars, Smith won Best Actor (for King Richard) and delivered a weepy speech that contained a sort-of apology to the Academy but definitely didn’t contain an apology to Chris Rock, who had made a GI Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith (who has publicly discussed her struggles with alopecia). This whole situation has made plenty of people revisit Rock’s 2016 jokes about Will and Jada, and Rock has declined to press charges with The Academy later tweeting that it doesn’t condone violence. On, and Diddy is out there insisting that it’s already bygones and “love” between the two “brothers.”
Hmm. Well, at some point after the slap (and it’s not entirely clear when this happened during the evening), some Oscars attendees were discussing the subject of apologies, according to The Wrap, and there were a few interesting weigh-ins made at the nearby Dolby bar:
“Twenty bucks says he doesn’t apologize,” said Rami Malek, who had been a presenter earlier in the evening, leaning on the bar.
“I’ll take that,” Patrick Whitesell, executive chairman of Endeavor, replied. “Twenty bucks says he does.”
The Wrap quotes one attendee as being “sad” over how this display could have set the Academy back “[a]fter all that we are trying to do to create change… And this Oscar’s was so diverse.” One studio executive is quoted as calling the whole mess “lame” with many expressing disbelief at how the slap and Smith’s subsequent shouted remarks to Rock prompted continued “shock” over how “crazy” the night turned out to be. That’s especially the case, no doubt, after Smith’s Best Actor speech was greeted with a standing ovation, although The Wrap notes that the mood turned to anger toward smith.
And it’s worth looking back, too, on how Rock’s 2016 joke (while he hosted the Oscars) poked fun at Jada boycotting the Oscars (due to their lack of diversity), during a ceremony for which Will was not nominated for Concussion. As Rock put it then, “It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.” And yep, the whole situation is awkward and will continue to be awkward because there’s no getting around how Will Smith responded to jokes with violence. The conversation won’t end soon, that’s for sure.
(Via The Wrap)