The night of the Oscar 2022it is now clear, will be remembered as that of Will Smith slap to comedian Chris Rock. Everyone really knows the story: Rock makes a joke about the alopecia of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett, and good Will loses his temper, takes the stage and settles accounts with a saloon move.
The unexpected immediately became a media event on a global scale. And at the base of this process there is not only the context in which it occurred, that is the most symbolic occasion of the civilization of the Western show, but also all the themes already present in the public debate, at various levels, that that slap activates : the limits of freedom of expression and humor, those of violence, the social perception of illness, patriarchy, cancel culture. Here: Will Smith at the moment is in danger of being crushed by this very last cog.
THE ACADEMY STARTS A DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST SMITH
Showbusiness is a schizophrenic world, made up of extremes and exhibited excesses, but also capable of exerting ferocious repressive pressure. And Will Smith, who won the coveted Best Actor statuette for his portrayal of him in A winning familynow he risks being ostracized by that world that had just consecrated his greatness, once more.
On the Academy table, in fact, there is the possibility of expulsion against Smith. In the note in which he commented on the incident, the Academy in fact condemned the actor’s behavior without appeal, underlining how the “inappropriate physical contact” And “offensive or threatening behavior“are harmful to the image and integrity of the Academy. And for this reason they have started adisciplinary action against Smith.
Not only that: the Academy was also keen to point out that during the same night of the Oscars, following the slap, Smith was invited to leave the room. But he refused:
Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscar were a traumatic and deeply shocking event to witness in person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and spectators for what happened during what should have been a celebratory event.
Things unfolded in a way that we could not have foreseen. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and he refusedwe also recognize that we could have handled the situation differently.
Smith now has two weeks to reply. And the next meeting of the Academy Board, scheduled for April 18, may already be the one in which disciplinary decisions to be taken, which also include suspension or expulsion, will be established.
THE FIRST COMMENT BY CHRIS ROCK
If Smith has already apologized for his gesture through social media, the other protagonist of the story, Chris Rock, he remained silent instead. But during his comedy show yesterday, Wednesday night, in Boston, Rock spoke for the first timeeven without expressing himself openly:
I don’t have a bunch of f ***** s about what happened. So if you’ve come to see it, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still processing what happened. So, at some point I’m going to talk about that shit. And it will be serious and fun.
Rock, in front of his audience, could not present himself as if nothing had happened. And so he immediately removed his tooth, warning that his show would not take into account the latest events. And taking the opportunity to confess that he is still elaborating what happened, with the promise then to talk about it in his own way.