What we know: On Sunday, the 94th Academy Awards took place, which featured several historical milestones for people of all backgrounds. However, this was quickly overshadowed by a now infamous 1 minute clip. For any of you who don’t know, here’s the rundown. Chris Rock was at the Dolby theater to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. However before this he started telling jokes, and one of them happened to be about Will Smith’s wife – Jada’s hair loss which happened because of a disease called Alopecia. Despite initially laughing, Will Smith later walked up to the stage and open fist slapped Chris Rock. After a brief verbal showdown (Smith cursed at Rock two times), Rock continued with his monologue while presenting the award. Smith later won the award for best actor, and did not apologize directly to Rock, however he did the next day. Most reactions from Celebrities and people in general support Chris Rock with some outliers such as Tiffany Haddish who are with Will Smith. The Academy stated that they will start an investigation, and also said that they asked Smith to leave, but he declined. At a Boston event, Rock said that he would talk about the incident more in depth later in the future.
The Blogs Take: Slapping someone because of a joke is of course wrong, and we join the majority of people by supporting Chris Rock. We do, however, think this shines light on a bigger picture. After the “slap heard around the world,” the Academy only asked Smith to leave but didn’t force him to. The Oscars definitely had the means to take him out as several security members were present, but they didn’t. Why is this? Mostly likely because the Academy knew that Smith would win best actor and didn’t want to create a television fiasco. But still, it was an assault and he should have faced some repercussions when the Awards took place. Think of it this way – you’re doing a very important presentation at work in front of several executives. However one executive gets angry that you used the wrong font and berates you before going back to his seat, unpunished. Then, this executive is awarded for being the “Best Employee” and apologizes to literally everyone except you! That’s basically what happened at Sunday’s Oscars. All in all, Chris Rock probably won’t sue, but it will still boost his net worth by a lot. For example, Chris Rock’s show prices have increased dramatically, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him host the Oscars for the second time next year. As for the impact on Will Smith’s career and brand we’ll just have to wait and see.
Note from the blog: This entry was written on Thursday, however it was intended to be published on Sunday, the one- week anniversary of this event. There have been several developments in this story, chiefly the fact that Will Smith resigned from the Academy on Sunday. This means that he will not be able to vote on nominees, but can still be nominated himself. The Academy has noted this event but its investigation is still proceeding. If you are as committed to quality, independent journalism as much as the blog is, please consider referring to friends.