Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In his formal resignation he stated, “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy.” While his decision is of course correct, it’s unfortunate. In an earlier post, I wrote that Smith was totally at fault. But it doesn’t mean it should haunt him for the rest of his life.
How many of us act in haste at times, only to look back with regret? I would assume most of us. None of us are perfect. Had he simply yelled at Chris from his seat, that would have been wrong, but no different than what happens inside the hallowed walls of our Congress these days. It’s ok to get angry and to verbalize it, it’s not ok to resort to physical violence.
He continued, “I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.” He concluded by saying, “so I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any further consequences that the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.” A very well written resignation and one that seemed genuine.
His actions detracted from all the other nominees and focused the attention on him and his inappropriate behavior. That can’t be changed or taken back, no matter how much remorse is shown. As anyone might imagine, after he and Jada arrived at home that night, she probably said something like, “it was very cool the way you defended me, but are you nuts? What the heck is the matter with you?” It’s the behavior one would expect from a teenager, not a married man with grown children.
Will Smith needs to take some time off, gather himself and then return to what he does best; entertaining people and making people laugh. In no way should this incident tarnish his long, outstanding career or his very well-deserved Oscar for best actor. It’s probably not indicative of any larger issue but I will leave that to others to decide. It was just a guy, acting like a stupid, toxic guy. Most men could relate to that, whether it’s politically correct to admit or not. Smith is only the fifth black actor to receive the award, so the focus should have been on that and what needs to be done to ensure more and better parts are offered to actors of color. Hopefully he truly learned something from this experience. A lesson learned at a rather inexpensive price.