The Academy on Will Smith controversy: We do not condone violence!
Writer: Heidi Hsia
Will Smith wins Best Actor after hitting comedian Chris Rock on live TV
29 Mar – The Academy has finally released a statement about the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock, stating only that it will not condone any violence.
On 28 March, The Academy posted a tweet that read, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form."
"Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world."
The response was not met with full satisfaction from both netizens and celebrities alike, with one saying, "You watched and broadcast a live assault to millions of people around the world, then awarded a man who committed said assault immediately afterwards without removing him from the building or having him arrested for the crime. That's the definition of condoning the violence."
Producer Marshall Herskovitz also called for The Academy to take disciplinary action against Will Smith, stating that the actor has disgraced the entire community with his action.
Some also expressed concern over the safety of comedians, with Mark Hamill writing, "Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assault, not so much", while Kathy Griffin stated that now all comedians have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theatres.
It is noted that The Academy has publicly released their code of conduct, which emphasises the importance of upholding the Academy's values of respect for "human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity".
"The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy's mission and reflective of our values," says CEO Dawn Hudson.
Following the backlash over the first statement, the Academy released another one soon after, saying, "The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night's show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."
Smith made headlines while the 94th Academy Awards was still running on 28 March, after he went on stage and punched Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett, who struggles with alopecia. The actor later won the Best Actor accolade for his performance in "King Richard".
Cinema Online, 29 March 2022
The actor smacked Chris Rock right in the face over a joke about his wife