This is not something I would normally publish – I mostly talk about movies and shows without going into the creator’s personal lives. But the situation with Will Smith is indicative of the current state of the film industry and there are some peculiar points to the story. And I may have let this one slide without a notice had it not been for Will’s decision to make an out-of-the-blue apology video.
Since Big Willie himself won’t let the situation die, we can talk about it now. He has released an apology video (four months too late) and everyone is talking about it. Which was his intention cause why else would he be doing it? It’s awfully lonely up there, in his Hollywood mansion, with his Oscar but not much else going for him. So that’s why he’s decided to remind the world that he still exists and also, what he’s now famous for. I’m sure he thought that his sombre look and the expressionless delivery of said apology would appear more genuine than showing actual human emotion, but he was wrong. It’s bizarre that he’s decided to frame the video as a Q&A session, like the actual apology is just a part of the programme. And how fake is the apology itself? Very. Especially him shifting the responsibility of reconciliation onto Chris by saying that he’s reached out and Chris didn’t want to talk, so now he’s here whenever Chris wants to talk. Like, it’s Chris’s responsibility now to initiate the conversation.
And again he brings up family, in this case Chris’s mom, apologizing to her. How about you don’t humiliate her son by slapping him at the biggest night of the industry?! But he brings up the mother deliberately to tug at the audience’s heartstrings (cause again, he’s not doing it for Chris, he’s doing it to revive his career).
As for the assault in question – and let’s not be coy about it, it was an assault – his excuse is that he was not thinking, it was an impulse, he was foggy afterwards and that’s why he didn’t apologize right away, like when he was delivering his undeserved Best Actor speech. Yeah, he was foggy alright but not from shock or whatever. Just like he’s foggy during this whole video – what are you on, Will?
What’s really interesting here is how much does Jada figure into all of this? And not in the sense that she’s the reason why the whole thing happened – Will was offended on her behalf since nothing was said or done to him personally – but how much of a puppet master is she in the relationship with Will? After the Oscars, people were sharing clips of the two, including the very candid talk they recorded on their marriage and the video at home where Jada berates Will for not wanting to be on camera. I’ve never been interested in their marriage and I’m not particularly interested in it now, but since it keeps coming up I’m gonna say that to me it looks like Will has no will (pun intended) of his own. He may have been projecting a confident alpha-male image prior to the incident but at heart he is a push-over, it is obvious now. You can see in those clips and interviews that he reluctantly does and says everything that Jada wants him to do and say, and it is even more obvious during the incident where Will actually laughed at the joke that he slapped Chris for minutes later. If Jada wasn’t there to pull the strings, nothing would have happened. But she rolled her eyes showing that she is even farther up her own ass than we thought before, and definitely did or said something off-camera that made Will go up on that stage and assault Chris Rock.
Now he’s saying that Jada in no way told or did anything that made Will commit the assault, but what else is he gonna say? He’s never gonna admit to being Jada’s puppet. And the fact that he can’t conceal his nervous laughter as he answers the question and reassures us that he was motivated by his past and his history with Chris speaks volumes. You don’t have to say anything to get your message across, truly.
And again he brings up family – his family this time – for no other reason than to elicit sympathy from the audience since he has definitely spoken to his family in the four months that have gone by since that night.
I will say that he seems genuinely sorry for stealing the spotlight from the nominees and winners of the night, especially Questlove who won in the category that Chris Rock was up there announcing. Interesting that so far this is the most genuine apology we’ve had. At least he might have some respect left for his colleagues. Then again it could be another tactic to get back into the good graces of the industry. Personally, I can’t trust anything he says anymore.
And no, I’m not being harsh or dramatic because the next point that he brings up is how he’s let so many people down who’ve looked up to him. And what does he talk about? What does he emphasize? How hard is must be to lose trust in someone you’ve held in such high esteem? No. How devastating it must be for the people who’ve looked up to him to have that hero taken away from them? No. Nothing about “them”, all about “me”. Apparently, it causes Will Smith psychological pain when he doesn’t live up to the expectations of the people, when he lets people down. Yeah, once again, it’s all about him.
You know what else? It’s the lack of emotion and the dead eyes that are really unsettling, especially when he says, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again… to his fans. So, not only is he not putting any genuine emotion into this promise, but he’s also promising to be friends with the people whom he was never friends with in the first place! How do you even describe your relationship with your fans as “being friends”? Sure, we all know what parasocial relationships are by now but we don’t verbally acknowledge them. There’s something so unsettling about this and the fact that it is the last thing he says in his apology video. Sounds more like a threat than a promise of something good.
So, what do we think about all this? And I am now wondering about the general consensus of the industry and the public regarding Will Smith. Is he cancelled now? I would think so since we’ve seen people being cancelled for similar situations. In fact, in many cases people were cancelled for alleged incidents. Not that the testimony wasn’t powerful or believable (although that differs on an individual basis) but there was no physical evidence presented. Whereas in the case of Will Smith, the whole world saw him commit physical assault during the biggest event in the film industry. An assault that was unprovoked (verbal provocation does not warrant a physical attack) and that led to no immediate consequences. Worse so, an assault that seemed to have been awarded by the industry which let him stay at the event, accept an award, give a speech and party into the night.
And just like immediately after the Oscars, I am now once again baffled by the jarring double standards of Hollywood. Imagine if you were the one who assaulted a co-worker at an important work function? Imagine you went up to someone at a work event and slapped them across the face? Would you have been allowed to stay at that event without so much as a talking-to? Without the HR or the police being called? Without getting fired the next day? Without any repercussions at all? The answer to all these questions is a big fat NO. Yet in Hollywood if you’re a big enough star you can get away with anything.
This is our lesson for the day, boys and girls, enjoy!