March 29, 2022

Will Smith

“The day after slapping Chris Rock on the Oscars stage and upending the 94th Academy Awards, Will Smith issued an apology to the comedian, to the academy and to viewers at home, saying he was ‘out of line’ and that his actions are ‘not indicative of the man I want to be.’” AP News

Many on both sides condemn Smith’s actions:

“If the assault had been done by a player during an NBA or NFL game, he might have been suspended or fined for fighting. Instead Smith was allowed to walk back to his seat. Then he won the Oscar for lead actor for his portrayal of the demanding father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in the movie ‘King Richard.’ Smith used his moment onstage — this time legitimately invited up — for a tearful, self-indulgent speech about how, like the man he portrayed on screen, he, too, has to defend his family. So that’s the lesson Smith took from Richard Williams — that hitting someone for making an offensive comment is defending your family?”
Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

“‘The Academy does not condone violence of any form,’ the official Oscars account tweeted after the show. But they do condone it. They’ve showered awards on characters like Roman Polanski, whose crime is a matter of public record, and on Harvey Weinstein, whose predations were an open secret in the industry before the law caught up to him. There’s an actual genocide going on in China yet the American film industry goes out of its way not to offend the perpetrators of it lest they lose access to the Chinese box office…

“In fact, less than an hour after Smith had slapped Rock in the face onstage in full view of millions of people, the Academy handed him the Oscar for Best Actor… Why was he still in the building? If the Academy doesn’t condone violence, he should have been escorted to the door. If he were a lesser-known actor I think he would have been. But he’s one of the 10 most bankable actors in Hollywood, and so the lesson of Weinstein was repeated last night. As a famous man once said: When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

Other opinions below.

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From the Right

From the Left

A libertarian's take

“For most of human history… Speech was violence, and anyone who said something offensive could invite reprisal. People who offended their neighbors would engage in blood feuds for generations. People who offended the political authorities could be dismembered. People who offended the religious authorities could be burned to death…

“Letting people kill each other every time they get upset about something is not a great way to run a society. Thankfully, over the past three hundred years, many advanced civilizations have evolved cultural norms that delineate words and actions… Will Smith has reminded everyone precisely why it is so dangerous to erode the critical post-enlightenment distinction between words and actions.”
Robby Soave, Reason

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