Thursday, April 18, 2024

Exclusive: Will Smith’s Charitable Foundation Spent $5,250 on A Journalist in 2021, Cut Donations by Two Thirds in 2022 After Chris Rock Oscar Slap Scandal


I’ve looked at a lot of expense reports from charitable foundations in my time. There are no end of strange line items.

But this one caught my eye on the Form 2021 for the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation: “Journalist, $5,250.”

It’s a small amount buried among the foundation’s expenses for things like a “Vetting Service– $29,031.” Who were Will and Jada vetting back in 2021, the year before the Oscars slap? Chris Rock?

Another expense: “Air Fares — $92,706.” They’re definitely not using Expedia.

But journalist for $5,250? (We come cheap, better to get a six pack!) The foundation paid a journalist to do what exactly? Or did they just buy one and keep it? An email sent to the foundation director from 2021 was not responded to.

But that’s from the 2021 tax filing. The 2022 tax filing is far more interesting. According to the filing, the Will and Jada Smith Foundation pulled in its belt seriously in 2022, the year when Will got up and slapped Chris Rock live on stage at the Oscars.

I guess the Smiths became less charitable worrying about their 2022 income after Will slapped Chris Rock and yelled “F you” at him on live television. In a nanosecond Smith’s deals dried up and it looked like he might be “cancelled.” Since then he’s made a new “Bad Boys” movie although it’s unclear how that will be received.

The foundation’s 2022 tax return states that qualifying distributions dropped sharply from $2 million to just $700,000. Grants to other charities dropped from $888K to $336K, or around 62%. A lot of groups that might have benefited from the Smiths’ largesse were cut because of the slap seen around the world.

Their 2022 expenses also didn’t list any journalists. And that’s when they could have used one!

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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