The current story of Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock has been covered ad nauseum. So much so that I was a bit hesitant about writing this article at all. I mean with the 24-hour news cycle on the constant move, the cultural landscape has almost completely moved on by now. People’s attention spans are so short-lived amidst the “internet age”, that they’ve already forgotten what’s happened a few weeks back, and had it replaced by the next hot topic. I think I can add a wrinkle to the story though. Give you an alternative viewpoint that you might not have considered prior. That is my view of there being TWO Hollywood’s out there, and repercussions for bad behavior are doled out differently depending which Hollywood you reside in.
Allow me to paint a picture for you. Roman Polanski, famed film director who was charged with the rape of an underage actress in 1977 when he was 43 and she was 13. He gave her champagne and Qualuudes before violating her. He fled the country to avoid prosecution yet was still making films abroad that were recognized by the Academy. He even won an Oscar in 2003. The point being was that he committed a heinous crime and yet was still recognized by the Academy. In fact, it took the Academy 30 years before they banned him. It took two weeks before they decided to ban Will Smith for a slap. There is your two Hollywood’s.
Now, I am in no way condoning violence of any sort. I think it’s horrible that he emasculated Chris Rock in front of millions, but I don’t think the punishment fits the crime. Will Smith has carved out a 30 plus year career of putting smiles on kid’s faces and bringing joy to millions with his movies and music. His philanthropy is also on an unprecedented level. He has accumulated a multitude of deserved accolades throughout the years, and I just don’t think that should all be thrown away over a slap. Then again, Hollywood is a fickle town, and when they want blood, they will get it.