Friday, June 21, 2024

Will Smith Promoting New Film in Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Belgium — Anywhere Away from US Media Asking Slap Questions


Will Smith’s “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is getting a worldwide promotional tour.

So far Will and Martin Lawrence have been in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, Mexico, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Miami.

The film opens June 7th but so far Sony has kept Smith away from any real press in the US, especially Los Angeles and New York. I’m told some outlets in Los Angeles pulled out of a junket because they were told not to ask about “the slap.”

That’s right. Will Smith’s famous live slap or punch of Chris Rock on the stage of the Oscars is being avoided at all costs. Smith was punished with a 10 year ejection by the Academy. He immediately lost work. Smith has been mostly persona non grata in Hollywood for the two years since the slap.

So, of course, now he’s back, starring in a big studio film. Has Hollywood forgiven and forgotten? Can you really attack someone on live TV in front of a worldwide audience and get away with it?

Maybe you can.

So far no entertainment reporter has been brave enough to ask a single question about the Slap. Will Will Smith get away with it? And what about Martin Lawrence? I’m hearing odd things about his appearance from those who’ve talked to him. He didn’t look well at the Emmy Awards back in January. Everyone is rooting for him, whatever is wrong.

We’ll see how the Slap figures into all this on June 6th, when “Bad Boys” plays previews.

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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