The announcement of Will Smith’s 10-year ban has caused a lot of mixed emotions, even among members of the academy.
Apparently, some feel it’s too harsh, while others think it’s too lenient.
Several reactions from a handful of members were published. However, none of whom are on the Board of Governors. Many of them went on the record to say how they feel about the decision of banning Smith from the Oscars for ten years after he slapped comedian Chris Rock at this year’s award show.
Several members supported Smith, including Stephen Potter of the Sound branch, Harry Shearer of the Actors branch, and Beverly Walker of the Marketing/PR branch, who all felt the punishment didn’t fit the crime, TMZ reported.
“If Will Smith, or any other A-list actor, had run on stage and simply pulled down his pants and defecated, I seriously doubt he’d/she’d be back on that stage in 10 years, or ever … A decade-long ban seems oddly parental, as in, he’ll have outgrown his slappin’ phase by then,” Harry said.
Beverly was also firmly in Will’s favor. She doesn’t like the idea of any comedian the Academy hires as a host/presenter to roast the crowd.
She has an issue with “the Academy’s longstanding habit of hiring comedian/hosts to march out and insult or make fun of the very people being celebrated,” adding, “there have undoubtedly been some who would’ve liked to make some sort of protest” … and finishing by saying, “What Rock said was egregious and he had to know it would not be appreciated.”
Then there is the group of people that have called out the Academy’s leadership itself, especially Prez David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, whom they say have messed up by failing to respond at the moment.
Mitchell Block, documentary maker, said it well, “The board of governors should have reviewed why David Rubin and/or Dawn Hudson failed to have Will Smith immediately removed from the theater after he physically attacked one of the hosts.” He adds, “Their poor judgment demonstrated an inability to lead and be proactive under pressure and respond to this behavior. I am deeply disappointed that the governors did not censure them.”
And of course, there are those that we’re appalled by Smith’s actions, saying he deserved more severe consequences, even criminal charges and maybe outright disqualification from all things Oscars, indefinitely.
Steven Scott said, “I also am disappointed that Chris Rock and The Academy decided not to press charges for Will’s attack. What message are we sending — that when we’re assaulted, it’s best to just keep our ‘composure’ and not complain?”
“Before someone tells me that other Hollywood A-listers have done awful things yet kept their Oscars, none of them did their crimes live, on air, from the Academy home stage on our special night, in front of all the world to see,” he said in regards to people comparing things they consider worse than Smith’s assault.
“There is no precedent for Will’s horrific physical and verbal assault, and the punishment should have been unprecedented as well. I am disgusted by my Academy’s appallingly weak, amoral, kowtowing-to-an-A-lister response.”
As for Smith, who won Best Actor that same night, well, he has accepted his punishment of not being able to attend Academy Award Ceremonies or official events for the next decade. However, he can still be nominated for Oscars and even win the awards.
Oh yeah, he gets to keep his award too.