As words of outcry and public condemnation continue following Will Smith’s slap across Chris Rock’s face at the 94th Academy Awards, one expert expects it will be all talk and no consequence for the actor who some suggest should be stripped of his Best Actor Award.
An audience filled with celebrities was broadcast to viewers around the world who watched as Rock was assaulted for a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, after which the offending actor returned to his seat where he remained a participant in the gala for the remainder of the night. As reported, he went on to win Best Actor and attended an afterparty where he continued to celebrate.
While the Academy was sure to issue a statement later that evening, brand expert Eric Schiffer told Fox News Digital that they had already proven their words were empty.
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 Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
“The Academy says it does not condone violence,” Schiffer commented, “but if that’s the case, they should have walked Smith out of the theater and rescinded his award for breaking Academy rules. But, their actions suggest a difference between the rich and famous and everyone else.”
The Academy rules that Schiffer invoked are the “Standards of Conduct” introduced in 2017 that members are expected to abide by.
“Academy membership is a privilege,” the guidance reads, “offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.”
A year later, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson explained, “The Academy’s goal is not to be an investigative body, but rather ensure that when a grievance is made, it will go through a fair and methodical process. The process will determine whether a claim will be brought to the Board for possible action regarding membership status.”
“The Academy,” Schiffer explained, “feels public pressure to take a stand and admonish Smith’s unhinged act but is unlikely to weaponize a violation of their own rules and arrest Smith’s Oscar and win.”
“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,” a film academy spokesperson told Variety on Monday.
The Los Angeles Police Department told @ABC News it is aware of the onstage altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but no police report has been filed. https://t.co/F827hXsWGm pic.twitter.com/ITvGPCmDhr
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Rock is not pressing any criminal charges against Smith for the assault. This is likely to dismiss concerns in the review pertaining to California law.
Furthermore, Smith has issued a public apology to Rock for his embarrassing and out of line violence against the comedian with hopes that he will do better in the future adding, “I am a work in progress.”
Schiffer deduced that any steps taken by the Academy moving forward are for show. “Will Smith’s spontaneous combustion won’t decapitate his Oscar win. The Academy won’t see Smith’s unhinged moment of anger and assault as an Oscar extinction-level act.”
In fact, the review of the incident will likely only lead to an opportunity for further condemnation of violence noting Smith’s self-admonishment as a justification for the continuance of his award.
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