Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hmmm: Will Smith’s Publicists Go On the Offensive, Tell TMZ Academy Didn’t Ask Actor to Leave Oscars


Will Smith’s publicists are an able group, far more aggressive than the those from the Motion Picture Academy.

So they’ve planted a story with TMZ — not a reputable outfit unless they’re monitoring police radio¬† — that the Academy never asked Smith to leave the Dolby Theater after he slapped Chris Rock on the Oscars stage.

This has produced headlines reading “Academy Lied.”

Just wait a second. Before everyone starts attacking the Academy, let’s get a grip. The Academy is a group of real, honest, serious people. You may not like the way the Oscars are produced for one reason or another, but these people do not lie. They are very upfront in their dealings.

What reason would make the Academy lie anyway, especially to the Associated Press? There’s no upside to it. I believe them when they say they asked Smith to leave and he refused. He knew he was going to win the Oscar for “King Richard.” He had them over a barrel. And then he went on stage and made his tearful, ridiculous acceptance speech.

The Academy was certainly not going to have Smith removed forcibly. It was either a civilized agreement, or they had to back off. But let’s proceed here sensibly. If the publicists could find a real news outlet to buy their story, they would have done so.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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