Will Smith beat comedian Chris Rock after a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s cut hair, at the Oscars Sunday.
The Oscar academy announced Monday that it had opened an “investigation” into the incident, which took place the day before at the gala night, where actor Will Smith beat comedian Chris Rock after a joke about his short-cut hair, his wife.
“The academy condemns Mr Smith’s actions during yesterday’s show,” the organization wrote in a statement sent to AFP. “We have officially launched an investigation into this incident,” said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which will investigate the follow-up to the case under its “regulations and California law.”
It’s a joke by Chris Rock about the shaved head of Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife who has alopecia – a condition that causes severe hair loss, which she revealed to suffer from a few years ago – that triggered the scandal. Will Smith then goes on stage and beats him. “Drop my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” launches the 53-year-old actor twice, once back in the chair.
What is the risk of the actor, who a little later was crowned “best actor” for his role in “The Williams Method”? Some have called on the Academy of Oscars to withdraw its award, but actress Whoopi Goldberg, one of the academy’s administrators, said that would not be the case. “There will be consequences, I’m sure, but I do not think that’s what they want to do, especially because Chris’ Rock said he would not bring charges, she said on television.
At the criminal level, too, it does not appear that prosecution is possible at this stage due to lack of complaint from Chris Rock, Los Angeles police said Sunday night. Will Smith would therefore only subject himself to disciplinary sanctions, which according to the Academy’s Code of Conduct may vary from a simple reprimand to expulsion.
The first punishment inflicted on the actor came from social networks, where many condemned the violence he showed. The strongest condemnation came from American actor and director Judd Apatow in a tweet he later deleted, but which comedian Mia Farrow took up: Will Smith “could have killed him. He simply lost control of his anger and violence (.. .). He lost his mind. “
For British author Bernardine Evaristo, whose father is Nigerian, Will Smith missed an opportunity to be an example, especially for African Americans: when he “is only the fifth black in nearly 100 years to win an Oscar for a title role and the first in 16 years bulls (he) to violence instead of using the power of words to defeat Chris Rock “, she condemned on Twitter.” And then he invokes God and the love that would have made him do this, she further rejected.
“Lack of respect”
In fact, Will Smith apologized to the Oscar academy on Sunday, saying in tears that “love makes you do crazy things” while condemning “people who do not respect you”. But director Rob Reiner questioned the sincerity of the apology, noting that it was not directed at Chris Rock himself. Will Smith may consider himself “lucky that Chris does not prosecute for assault,” he writes.
Rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs assured Sunday after the ceremony that the two men had passed on this bloodbath. “This is not a problem. It’s over. I can confirm that,” Diddy told the gossip page Page Six. “Everything is fine,” confirmed shortly after Variety Will Smith himself while attending a party with his wife and children. The actor escaped Oscar’s press room after receiving his trophy.
However, some celebrities have given their support to Will Smith. Former One Direction singer Liam Payne responded to reporters: “I think whatever he did, he had the right to do so.” The elected Democrat in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley, who also suffers from alopecia, thanked him in a tweet since deleted. “Congratulations to all the men who are defending their wives with alopecia in the face of ignorance and everyday insults,” she wrote.
The Oscars desperately needed to correct a declining audience: they won their bets Sunday night, helped despite themselves by the spectacular blow to the face by Will Smith at comedian Chris Rock, which attracted more than 15 million Americans in front their screens.
Preliminary viewership figures, revealed by the ABC channel, which broadcast the gala evening, noted a sharp recovery compared to the 9.85 million spectators last year, a historically low level. With 15.36 million on Sunday night, it is still the second worst performance of the Oscars since they are broadcast on television.