About ten seconds after Chris Rock joked that Jada Pinkett Smith was going to be in GI Jane 2 at the 2022 Oscars, the energy of the ceremony shifted. Will Smith ascended to the stage and delivered Chris a swift slap across the face, sending a shockwave of silence across the room and social media feeds into a frenzy. Will went on to later win the Best Actor trophy for his work in King Richard, but by the time that happened? Most people were in a daze. What. Just. Happened?
By the next morning, it was apparent: the reverberations of that slap were going to be coursing through Hollywood for some time to come. And not just in the form of essays and statements. Last Friday, Will made an announcement that he was resigning from the Academy, adding,
“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.”
And now, as the incident is officially one week in the rearview, Will is starting to see tangible repercussions following his actions at the Academy Awards—as in, ones that are going to hurt his bottom line. Will’s upcoming Netflix film Fast and Loose has reportedly slowed production, per The Hollywood Reporter. The film, which had already lost its director prior to Will’s altercation, was supposedly reprioritized following the Oscars. (It’s not hard to imagine that it would be ramped up in priority had the evening passed without Will’s outburst.) Will was set to star in the film, which told “the story of a crime boss who loses his memory after an attack.”
That news comes on the heels of another one of Will’s projects derailments. Also according to The Hollywood Reporter, Will was recently given the first 40 or so pages of the script for Bad Boys 4, but that production has also been slowed for the time being.
Will has had a prolific career, spanning four different decades. His brand, for the longest time, was that of the unimpeachably “nice guy.” The news following Sunday’s spat proves that this is, truly at the very least, going to be a sizable bump in Will’s road. “His brand is currently damaged goods worldwide,” public relations expert Mike Paul, told The New York Times. If and when Will works again—this town does love a comeback!—it will be a long road to redemption.
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