Will Smith: The aftermath of the slap

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‘Slapgate’ as it is being called in the media these days, changed actor Will Smith’s life in a way he may have never anticipated or planned for.

On the night he was to receive his first Academy Award ever, Will Smith allowed his emotions to get the better of him and slapped Chris Rock live on stage when Chris made an inappropriate joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s baldness.

On the day, there was a stunned reaction from viewers and fellow attendees and Will Smith went on win Best Actor for ‘King Richard’.

The next day all the reactions and criticisms poured in and there were many things said and a lot more written about the debacle, a notorious event that sparked the popularity of the Academy awards this year.

The Academy took a day to release their statement in which they issued an apology to members and viewers and condemned Will Smith’s action during the awards ceremony.

Will Smith too, took a day to send out a public apology to Chris Rock, which he posted on his Instagram and stated that he was wrong to have slapped Rock.

The Academy then had an emergency meeting in which they decided that they would convene a full board meeting on April 18 at which time they will put to vote the disciplinary action they should take against Will Smith. It could be a suspension, expulsion or any other punishment as deemed fit at the time.

Will Smith, on Sunday, perhaps pre-empted the action that would be taken against him and voluntarily resigned from the Academy. Perhaps he hoped to lessen the severity of the disciplinary action against him. Or he was truly remorseful.

It looks like the Academy is really upset over the incident, as they promptly accepted his resignation. However, the big surprise and perhaps even Will Smith did not anticipate this is that they will still continue with their disciplinary proceedings as planned and mete out what they think is the right action against Smith for his conduct during the Oscars, which the Academy stated was against the rules laid down.

Will Smith may have resigned in order to save him the anxiety of waiting and wondering as to what action the Academy would take against him. His move to resign has backfired though as he still has to wait until April 18, to find out if they will take any other action – permanent expulsion, extended suspension, strip away the Oscar win (unlikely) or ban him from future Academy awards night (possible).

The aftermath of Will Smith’s emotional reaction and assault on Chris Rock has come back to bite him in a big way and in a real sense he has spoiled the glory that should have been his to finally be recognized by the Academy as the best actor.

Another loss for Will Smith is that his Netflix movie ‘Fast and Loose’. The movie had a stroke of bad luck before the slap incident when the director of the movie, David Leitch withdrew from the project and took on ‘Fall Guy’ starring Ryan Gosling. In the week leading up to the Oscars, Netflix was furiously looking for another director to replace David Leitch as the movie starred the potential Best Actor. However, since the infamous incident at the Oscars, Netflix has quietly moved this project to the back burner and are in no hurry to start production – yet another unpleasant consequence for Will Smith to deal with because of his slap.

As for the the consequences for Chris Rock, his reaction (or the lack of it) during the ceremony and his silence on the matter afterwards has earned him brownie points the world over. The result of him taking the high road here meant that the stand-up shows lined up in the week following the awards, he got to perform to a packed audience with every seat sold.

In the conflict between Will Smith and Chris Rock, for now, it’s Rock who has had the last laugh.

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