The Fresh Prince of NOTHING

Dear Hollywood-

So, this past Sunday night over 15 million people tuned in to watch the Academy Awards show or commonly referred to as the Oscars, you know the show where the rest of us watch you already celebrated, highly paid and egotistical human beings compete (quietly of course) for your industry’s most coveted sign of success, the golden statute called ‘Oscar’. 

For a good part of this Sunday’s performance, it was business as usual for the Academy.  Pomp and circumstance, as the real attention is paid to everyone’s outfits in the half-hour or so before the actual ceremony.  But alas the first in-person event after the COVID-19 Pandemic did not have enough time to stand on its own two legs, thanks to the actions of veteran, high-paid actor Will Smith.   The same actor that recently wrote a book and went to Oprah Winfrey’s one hundred fifty-million-dollar estate to sit and discuss his life and how he became the icon that he claims to be. 

What is extremely disturbing is everyone has always loved the actor who has played a matchmaker, an alien-fighting military pilot, and his recent epic portrayal of Richard Williams.  Will Smith has shown such depth as an actor that he was nominated this year for the portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father who against all odds helped them achieve utter greatness in tennis. 

Smith, a once resident of Philadelphia who did not have it so easy as a child, achieved fame first as a rapper and then on TV as the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”.   So much so that it cemented his status with young viewers and then like a fine wine, Smith aged along with those who watched him.  Take it directly from me, as someone who is Smith’s contemporary age-wise, Will has been someone that many look up to.  Someone that has always claimed he was never perfect and made lots of mistakes in life.

But now, Mr. Smith has gone and done something completely unacceptable in front of those millions of movie fans.  After Chris Rock came on stage to present, he adlibbed and cracked some jokes as a comedian often does.  Everyone expects that of him, right?  I mean what fun would Chris Rock be if he just came on stage and presented without being who he is, a comic.  One of those jokes as everyone knows was directed at Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife who unbeknownst to most suffers from alopecia whereby her hair falls out, so she has it shaved off.   She has stated this on social media, so this is nothing really new, private or in need of protection by her husband.

Anyone with any sense knows that everyone sitting there is free game to a comic, right? You are all after all actors and actresses, right? Your whole existence is based on the rest of us watching your movies, tv shows and attention starved reality on social media, correct?  You get paid to run around and live “that’ life, right?  To act and play a role so that we can all forget about our lives a bit and take our minds off of whatever is bothering us.  You know to ENTERTAIN US.   That is truly what you get paid for, right?

So, scrutiny, paparazzi, reporters, comics, pictures, scandals all come with the territory.  Those at the top of their game, especially those in the front row, waiting for the Academy to plant that gold statute in their hands so they can go from being called a nominated actor to an award-winning actor; should expect these things.  (For those who do not know an Oscar win normally translates into an increase in popularity, larger box office draw, and income) But it seems that after laughing at Rock’s joke, Will seeing his wife’s reaction literally got up out of his seat, walked on stage, and slapped Rock across the face.  Turned around, with a smirk on his face, and walked back to his seat, while Rock the bigger person made yet another series of jokes about it as Smith shouted curses live in front of all those people to the astonishment of everyone watching and those in attendance.

About twenty to thirty minutes later, Smith won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.  During the acceptance speech, Smith could have squashed the whole entire thing and brought Rock out begging for eternal forgiveness but lost himself in some ridiculous divine speech suggesting God was responsible for Smith’s actions.   

So if you are still as dumbfounded by this as we are, that this could happen to Chris Rock and thirty minutes later you, the members of Hollywood gave Will Smith a standing ovation for his win, we would like to suggest a couple of things to right this horrible wrong.

First, the Los Angeles Police Department needs to wake up and realize that there is no question if they are going to ever have anyone’s respect in enforcing the law, they have to arrest Mr. Smith and charge him with the appropriate charges that over 15 million people witnessed on national television.  Sorry, but you would have to be on Pluto to not be able to find witnesses who “saw the whole thing” as it has been streaming live all day all night since.

Second, shame on the Academy which now has the liability from Mr. Rock that it seems any celebrity who is attending the show can just get up, walk on stage and assault someone.  How does that make performers feel?  Probably not good. 

Third, I know that If I was in attendance, got up, and went to smack Mr. Rock I would have been tackled and in jail still over the same actions.  No bail, no release no nothing.  Why?  Because it seems there is a double standard for A-list Hollywood celebrities, and it is about time that ends too.  None of you are above the law and you should be prosecuted to the full extent of it.  I do not care who you are, who you know, how much money you have or what movie you are in.  TOO BAD.  You broke the law Mr. Smith and quite frankly you are not a good human being.

 You see Will Smith has just destroyed all of the good that was done over the past couple of years where no one wants to tolerate actions by people who think they are above the law.   Who gave Will Smith permission to walk on stage when he was not supposed to be there and physically assault someone then verbally assault them?  NO ONE, but the Academy is who allowed it all to happen. 

I as a viewer was astonished that anyone can just walk on stage and assault another attendee or presenter.   How is that even possible?  One assumes the over one thousand people who are in charge of security for individuals and the Academy who were present should have jumped in and done something. 

Then there is today’s revelation that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the show and declined.  Declined? How is that even possible?  How does one commit a crime, violate the rules of the actual society that is giving one an award, and that individual declines to leave, when asked by the same societal group to vacate due to your unacceptable actions?  Most especially since you apologized to the other cadre of A-list actors up for awards in your category but declined to apologize to the comic who you physically assaulted.    What has this world come to? 

Hollywood, please stand together with us and demand Will Smith give back his Oscar showing the world that elitism at all levels is not above the rules that everyone else lives by.  Shame on you Mr. Smith.  Shame, Shame, Shame.  You of all people should know better.  Not only have you ruined the Oscars, but you have lost countless fans that loved everything you ever did.    Remember, actions speak louder than words.   You do not deserve the Oscar because all you have done is taught the world it does not matter how you treat others to get what you want.

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