Friday, June 21, 2024

Will Smith’s Severe Punishment Shocks “Civilians,” But What He Did After Slap Was Almost Worse


The internet is buzzing with shock over the severity of Will Smith’s punishment by the Academy. Ten years suspension, no attending the Oscars for a decade. No participation in Academy activities.

Is it too much? It feels like it. I would have rather seen three years and a joint investigation into what happened, what caused a normally composed person to lose his mind on live TV, a discussion about anger, etc. But right now no one wants to hear that. They just want a pound of flesh.

There’s another element to the whole slap-Oscar ban. What Smith did after the Oscars was almost worse than his act of violence. Having won his Academy Award, Smith skipped the Governor’s Ball completely. That was the first thumbing of his nose. And then he went to Vanity Fair’s celebrity orgy and danced the night away, rapping his greatest hits and really sticking it to the Academy and to Chris Rock.

This part of the evening will haunt him forever, and it should also haunt Vanity Fair. Yes, the Vanity Fair philosophy is that they welcome whoever will get them publicity. It really doesn’t matter what you’ve done.

But by welcoming Smith after this live TV debacle, they affixed their stamp of approval. Smith felt at home in their big drafty tent to do whatever he wanted. They loved it because they were using him. Vanity Fair’s so called leadership has ruined their magazine by having no point of view. This point of view diminishes them in circulation and certainly now editorially.  It’s hard for the magazine to do much more harm to itself, but maybe the remaining readers should consider that Vanity Fair contributed as much to Will Smith’s downfall as he did.

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.

Read more

In Other News