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Will Smith Gets Sentenced to 10 Years in Oscars Jail

Source - Will Smith, who stormed the stage at the 2022 Oscars to slap Chris Rock shortly before winning the year’s best actor prize, has been banned from attending the Oscars and all other Academy events for 10 years, the the Academy’s Board of Governors decided Friday.

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement following the announcement. ...

“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage,” [Academy president David] Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson wrote in a letter following the meeting. “During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.

I suppose the Academy deserves credit for doing the right thing here. However belatedly. And I can respect David Rubin for leaning into how they failed to "adequately address the situation in the room." And as Travolta says in Pulp Fiction, "Jules, did you ever hear the philosophy that once a man admits he's wrong, then he's automatically forgiven of that wrongdoing?" Which I fully intend to do. 

But before we do, let's not lose sight of the fact, "in the room," the most prestigious event in entertainment, that they've been conduction for almost a hundred years, with an unlimited budget and more security than a G-7 Summit meeting, they couldn't bring themselves to apply the same standard you'll find in a Boston barroom. 

There's not a comedy club in America that would let an audience member dope slap the comic, then take his seat and enjoy the rest of the show while his date sits next to him chuckling. The Oscars not only did that, the whole room gave him a thunderous standing ovation not 40 minutes later, as if he didn't just commit assault and battery. These are supposed to be the most admirable, accomplished, celebrated and smartest celebrities we have. But with very few exceptions, the sanctimonious pricks all adopted a "wait and see" attitude. During the rest of the broadcast. In the hours and days that followed in their social media posts. And in the reactions on the talk shows all that week. A disturbing percentage of them either refused to condemn Smith, or out right made excuses for him. We just need to clock that and save the receipts for future reference. 

And who knows? In a perfect world, this could signal the end of a celebrity culture that seems to have been dying a painful death anyway. Swallowed up by the gravitational pull of 20-year-olds producing content with their phones that gets millions of hits from a target demo who was born long after Will Smith made it big in movies with Men in Black and Bad Boys. And who wouldn't know about the movie he just won the Oscar for unless it was 10 seconds long and appeared on Instagram Reels. So maybe some good will come out of it and our culture will lower that pedestal we've put the Beautiful People on for a century now. 

Still, good on you Academy, for doing the right thing. It's never too late for that. Apology accepted.