by Marcel Sanders
I want to start off with saying that I agree with most people who saw or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards show,who say it was wrong. Smith had no justification for slapping Rock and it may be arguable on the exact reasons behind the slap. But, what is not arguable is that the 10 year ban that Smith received weeks later as punishment is unfair and highly excessive due to Smith’s stellar reputation, who has no prior history of physically assaulting or being accused of assaulting anyone.
It should be no surprise for the reasons why Smith’s slap went viral, which mainly concerns two facts: that it happened on live tv at a nationally televised event and that the slapper was Will Smith.
Will Smith is nationally known to the world as one of America’s few leading African American actors, alongside Denzel Washington. He has played a leading role in many box-office successes such as Independence Day, the Men in Black franchise and in critically acclaimed biopics such as Ali, Concussion and most recently, King Richard, which he received his first Oscar for Best Actor this year.
I understand that Smith slapping Rock was something that the Academy would not be able to let go unpunished, especially after Smith had won an Oscar that same night. It would be understandable if Smith had been banned from the Oscars for maybe 2-5 years. But,10 years is too excessive. He did not punch Chris Rock or injure Rock badly enough to put him in hospital, which would certainly lead to criminal charges. Most importantly, Smith has no prior history of physical assault and he has since apologized for the assault.