The Motion Picture Academy’s decision to ban Will Smith from Oscar ceremonies and events for 10 years as discipline for slapping Chris Rock is little more than an extended time out for a playground bully. It’s a toothless penalty that lays bare the shallowness of Hollywood morals.
At this point, the only person who can redeem the integrity of the Oscars is Smith himself. He needs to come to grips with the gravity of the offense he committed: slapping Rock, live on March 27 in front of millions on the Academy Awards stage.
Smith needs to express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: “Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian.”
Of the many unsettling things said in the aftermath of the slap, the most galling to me was his reference to the influence of a higher power during his surreal acceptance speech after he won for his work in “King Richard” less than an hour after his act of violence — and the Academy’s equally shocking decision not to eject Smith from the ceremony.