Well, here’s a first for the Oscars. The Academy has issued a statement condemning violence after Will Smith hit Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards. People aren’t happy with the statement because it doesn’t address many of the issues that occurred last night.
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” the organization tweeted around 1 a.m. ET. “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.”
As per Decider, you weren’t watching the Oscars if you had no idea what this vague tweet was alluding to. Host Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith while presenting the award for Best Documentary. Rock claimed Smith looked like she could feature in G.I. Jane 2 because of her bald haircut, which she started after being diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder alopecia.
Will Smith rushed onto the stage and whacked Rock. He screamed repeatedly after returning to his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.” Many admirers wondered if it was a joke or not after witnessing such a bizarre and shocking moment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
Later, upon accepting his Oscar for King Richard, Smith apologized onstage. In addition, Rock has spoken out about the topic in private. Rock notified the LAPD in a statement obtained by Variety that he will not be filing charges against Smith at this time.
That leads us back to the statement made by the Academy. Smith was not taken off the premises after the incident and was allowed to accept his Oscar. On Twitter, several people were quick to point out the hypocrisy:
No. No no no-no-no.
You DID condone it. He was not removed. He was not escorted out of the building. He was allowed to continue in his (literal) seat of power and privilege while you laughed nervously about it. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.
You watched and broadcast a live assault to millions of people around the world, then awarded a man who committed said assault immediately afterward without removing him from the building or having him arrested for the crime.
That’s the definition of condoning violence.
You gave an assault perpetrator five uninterrupted minutes on a global platform to excuse his behavior.
You don’t just condone violence. You endorse and amplify it!
The statement rang false for other fans for a different reason. As many have pointed out, several celebrities have been accused of sexual harassment and assault and have still won Oscars.
Humm okay, it seems like that only with violence that you can’t control or hide pic.twitter.com/q1xYnvRlXK
The Hollywood Reporter’s Chief Television Critic, Daniel Fienberg, even offered an alternative statement that seemed more in line with the chaos of the evening:
“What happened at the ceremony tonight was unacceptable. It never should have happened and, at the moment, we were unable to respond decisively and we regret the way an already unfortunate situation was handled. We apologize to tonight’s winners and the industry at large.”
Following this lackluster response, it seems unlikely that this is the last we’ll be hearing from the Academy.