Could Will Smith be stripped of Oscar? Academy pressured to act after violent on-stage assault over joke

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Rumors are circulating that actor Will Smith may be stripped of his Oscar after walking up to comedian Chris Rock on stage Sunday and brutally slapping him for making a joke about his wife’s hair.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is under pressure to take back the Oscar that Smith received for Best Actor following the violation of its code of conduct established after the “Me Too” movement surfaced.

“The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world,” the Academy tweeted following the event.

Jada Pinkett-Smith has been open about suffering from alopecia, a form of hair loss, for years now. She reportedly appeared upset and affronted after Rock’s joke.

The comic’s joke evidently hit a nerve. It appeared at first that Will Smith laughed at the comedian referring to his wife as GI Jane 2 but spiraled out of control when the actor stormed the stage and violently slapped Rock across the head.

Most of the media censored the exchange but the Japanese aired the clip in full. In context, the back and forth was by far uglier than the media presented it to be.

“Oh, wow! Wow! Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me,” Rock said as the audience laughed.

He added, “Wow, dude. It was a GI Jane joke.”

Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth,” Smith said twice from his seat.

Rock responded, “I’m going to. That’s the greatest night in the history of television.”

After the assault, the audience went dead silent. No one was sure whether the incident was real or staged. Evidently, it was all too real.

Rock was apparently staggered by the attack but did his best to compose himself and carry on.

Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry reportedly took Smith aside to calm him down after the incident. Smith’s rep ran to his side as the actor sat back down with his wife. The show’s producer Will Packer also raced over to Smith and spoke with him.

(Video Credit: Entertainment Tonight)

Producers are now being forced into a tough decision over how to deal with the assault. Smith has not received his Best Actor statuette yet and there is a strong possibility that he never will after this.

Normally, if someone had pulled a stunt like this, he would have been removed by security guards. But the larger-than-life actor was permitted to stay as if the altercation had not even happened. The LAPD were informed but no complaint was filed.

“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report,” a statement asserted. “If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

Smith’s publicist spoke with him during the final commercial breaks of the Oscars broadcast. The ads were hastily inserted as producers reportedly tried to deal with the chaos that ensued after the assault. Journalists were told not to ask any of the actors about the slap that was televised around the world.

Fifteen minutes after Smith smacked Rock, he took to the stage to accept his Oscar, weeping at the honor. He was given the award for Best Actor in his movie, “King Richard.” Smith attempted to link his violent outburst to his character in the movie as someone who “defended his family.” He also apologized to the Academy and the nominees for the incident although that may fall short of saving his Oscar.

He remarked in his acceptance speech that Denzel Washington told him “that at his ‘highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.'” Adding, “In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. You’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s okay.”

“I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena. Thank you for entrusting me with your story. That’s what I want to do. I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love, and care and concern,” Smith hollowly claimed.

“It’s basically assault. Everyone was just so shocked in the room, it was so uncomfortable” one unnamed executive told the New York Post. “I think Will would not want to give his Oscar back, but who knows what will happen now.”

“He could have killed him. That’s pure out-of-control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind,” director Judd Apatow angrily stated.

“In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson commented.

“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power, or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values,” Hudson said in a statement released to Variety.

If Smith has his Oscar stripped, he will not be the first to undergo that indignity. Film producer and predator Harvey Weinstein was stripped of his membership in the organization after he was found guilty of decades of sexual misconduct.

Others have also been penalized for various issues of misconduct but none have risen to the level of violence that Smith publically participated in.


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