Academy member says Will Smith must atone for ‘brutality’ and return Oscar


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A member of the Motion Picture Academy says Will Smith “voluntarily” had to return his best actor award to atone for slapping Chris Rock at the awards show last month.

“The stain on the Motion Picture Academy cannot be easily repaired. The only hope for a justifiable pardon must involve Smith voluntarily returning his Best Actor award,” actor Harry Lennix, 57, wrote in a Editorial variety Saturday.

Actor Harry Lennix attends the International Emmy Awards in Manhattan, New York, U.S. November 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
(Reuters)

WILL SMITH NOT ALLOWED TO ATTEND OSCARS FOR 10 YEARS

“Smith’s brutality stripped the whole evening of its prestige,” he added. “It was proven when stunned Oscar-goers gave a standing ovation to someone who had just committed an assault in front of their eyes.”

Smith took the stage at the 94th Academy Awards last month and slapped Rock after he joked about a “GI Jane” sequel and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, going bald.

Smith received the Best Actor Oscar for his lead role in “King Richard” later that night, where he delivered an emotional acceptance speech.

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all of my fellow nominees,” he said. “It’s a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on everyone.”

Smith resigned from the Academy and was subsequently banned from attending Oscar ceremonies for a decade.

Lennix argued that the slap will “gnaw on our national conscience” unless Smith returns his Oscar, adding that barring him from attending future Oscars is a “toothless penalty” comparable to “extended downtime for a playground bully”.

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“With one deft stroke, Will Smith has created an existential crisis for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” Lennix said. “The incident was such a jolt to societal norms that it will eat away at our national conscience until it is properly atoned for.”

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