Wild Night! Hollywood Now Has to Make Some Big Decisions

Sarmad Khan

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No one needs another hot take on what happened last night, so if you don’t continue reading I totally get it. Just seconds after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on live television, social media lit up with jokes, memes, and commentary from across the country and around the globe — an instant internet Rorschach test on everything from comedy, violence, marriage to emotional abuse and chivalry. Is the dress black-and-blue or white-and-gold? Everyone has wifi, so everyone has an opinion and a little machine in their hand to broadcast it. No one paid a lick of attention to anything that happened on that Hollywood stage after 10:30 pm ET because we were all still reeling from — and talking, texting, and tweeting about — the Slap Heard ‘Round the World.

What should have happened after Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head is her husband, the Best Actor nominee, a mega Hollywood favorite, should have stood up and led the Dolby Theater in a rousing “Boo!” that would have embarrassed Rock and made Smith look like the hero we have always known and believed him to be. Of course, that did not happen. Smith snapped. And what followed the crass joke was so incredibly gross that PR teams around Hollywood will have their hands full all morning dealing with the fallout. They will spin and spin. But the damage is done.

I’m not sure what was more disgusting: witnessing an A-list actor — on the most important night of his career, in the most public forum he has ever been in, who was given the coveted front row so that he could be honored — get up from his seat, walk onto the stage, and smack a comedian and then repeatedly curse him loudly upon his return or the fact that the producers of the show allowed him to take his seat with no consequences, after which 10 million+ people had to watch him be awarded an Oscar — the highest artistic honor in cinema — and then had to listen to him babble and cry (!) about being a “vessel of love,” defending his actions because somehow we should all understand that “love will make you do crazy things,” (Sorry, what?) all while doing a downright manipulative quick re-write of his acceptance speech to narratively tie his behavior to his character’s, likening himself, who just assaulted a colleague, to Richard Williams — whose middle name, by the way, is “Dove” — a man who was beaten up in front of his daughters (we all saw the movie) and chose not to raise his hands to fight back in order to teach them a lesson in humility and grace. All without being played off by the orchestra*, as thousands of peace-loving artists stood up out of their seats and applauded him. (Not everyone, but those who did know who you are.)

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