Publisher’s note: Holly Thomas is a writer and editor based in London. She is the morning editor at Katie Couric Media. You can find her on Twitter @HolstaT. The opinions expressed in this column belong exclusively to the author. Read more opinion articles at cnne.com/opinion.
(CNN) — No one expected drama in the oscars 2022. For an event that supposedly celebrates innovation and imagination In the film industry, the Academy Awards have in recent years cultivated a reputation as tedious which is almost impressive, with several hours of repeated pats on the back and mainly white people winning things, interspersed with the occasional emotional speech.
As the world already knows, that bland predictability was shattered on Sunday night, when Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped Chris Rockwhile the comedian presented the award for best documentary.
Rock had made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith, Smith’s wife, comparing her to Ridley Scott’s “GI Jane.” A character for whom Demi Moore shaved her head. Pinkett-Smith, who has publicly spoken about his alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, He currently sports a close-cropped hair.
After hitting Rock, Smith returned to his seat and seemed to insult him: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
At the time, Smith did not apologize to Rock, who, according to police, refused to press charges over the incident. Smith ultimately said that he was sorry through an Instagram post on Monday night. “Violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive. My behavior last night at the Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Pranks at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me.” and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I crossed the line and I was wrong,” it reads in a part of the message.
During the ceremony, when he returned to the stage shortly afterward to accept the award for best actor for his role as Richard Williams in “King Richard,” Smith He referred to what happened indirectly. And he disassociated himself from responsibility. “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just as they said of Richard Williams, ”he said through tears. “But love will make you do crazy things.”
We can at least be thankful that Smith didn’t completely transform into “Ali,” as a tribute to the character. of a champion boxer that he played before. But back to the point, Smith’s reaction, like his words during his acceptance speech, was more about himself than his wife. And that is what irritates the most. Men should not use the welfare of women as a justification for hitting someone. Furthermore, sending the message that this is what women want from men is not only useless, but also potentially dangerous.
As a superstar with all the resources and PR tools at his disposal, Will Smith could have chosen from countless ways to respond to Rock’s prank. He could have verbally communicated his feelings about him to his millions of followers on social media, donated to a baldness charity, or tied up his famous friends in a soothing rendition of “Imagine.”
Regardless of what he decided to do, he should have waited to see if his wife, against whom the prank was directed, really wanted that, before focusing on himself and escalating a conflict she was perhaps not happy to amplify.
Worse yet, the comments Smith’s remarks about being “a protector of love” in accepting his award echo one of the main justifications perpetrators of domestic abuse employ: that “love drives” them to hit. Something that Smith himself has first-hand knowledge of as a survivor.
Aggression is never a justifiable response to a joke, even if it is in poor taste. However, violence on behalf of another person is even murkier territory. If Pinkett-Smith had gone onstage and slapped Chris Rock herself, she would still have been wrong. But she, at least she would have chosen the action that was taken on her behalf and borne the consequences of that. Instead, she is now forced to associate herself with behavior that she may not approve of. And she probably won’t, if her past responses are any guide.
When Rock joked about Pinkett Smith and her husband’s boycott of the Oscars in 2016, she took it in stride. “Look, it’s something that was expected,” said at that time. And he added: “We have a lot of things that we have to manage, a lot of things are happening in our world right now. We have to keep moving.” Had Smith followed his example, Rock’s comment would have been forgotten by now. Instead, it cements itself as one of the most embarrassing moments in Oscar history.
The excuse of Will Smith to “stand up” for his family and behave like a “father” –– which his apology post acknowledged was “misplaced” and “incorrect”–– might have made sense if his outburst had been in response to a physical threat for his offspring. Or if being a father had something to do with what happened. But interrupting someone else’s big win to slap someone for a raunchy comment about your wife is a pretty untenable model for fatherly behavior. Not to mention that it is an example of garbage for its millions of fans.
To the guy who was famous for being above cursing in his music ––apparently because his grandmother convinced him that “really smart people” don’t need to––it’s a pretty significant lapse in judgment.
For millennia, men have chosen the best course of action on behalf of women. For millennia, they have almost always been wrong.
Jada Pinkett-Smith is an intelligent grown woman who has shown and again which speaks for itself. She is an entertainment veteran in her own right. She even has a podcast in which he regularly shares his boldest and rawest views on challenging topics, including his marriage and the alopecia per se. There was no need for her husband to intercede for her in a matter that she is more than capable of handling.
After the ceremony ended, Smith added a comment below an Instagram photo of him and his wife dressed up for the night, joking: “You can’t invite people from Philly or Baltimore anywhere!”
Perhaps he was referring to his popularly fictional roots, but Smith is no longer a child. He is a man in his 50s, with decades of experience in the industry. He could easily have taken a page from young Will’s book and ended up choosing the path of nonviolence, retiring to some “mansion in Bel Air.”
Instead, he chose to hit a man who did not threaten any danger, on behalf of his wife. By doing so, he embarrassed his wife and embarrassed himself.
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What Will Smith did is not what women want (Opinion)