As soon as Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards, he immediately became the biggest loser of the evening. He resorted to violence to solve his problem, resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and still could be suspended or expelled from AMPAS. So even though Smith won an Oscar for best actor, he’s facing the fallout for his actions. And the fallout continues.
Smith faced criticism from several Hollywood stars immediately after the slap. He could lose his Oscar and his livelihood, too. But for how long?
The immediate aftermath of Smith’s actions
Smith’s tearful acceptance speech in which he apologized for his actions (but not to Rock) hinted at his high emotions after the slap. As it became clear the incident was not a scripted part of the show, entertainers quickly weighed in.
Mark Hamill condemned the attack, and so did comedian Kathy Griffin. Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, and many fans reacted with support for Rock and disgust for Smith.
Smith declined to leave the Oscars when Academy representatives asked him to, and Rock declined to press charges.
There’s still a chance Smith’s Academy Award could be stripped, but he’s facing even more consequences for his actions.
Smith’s livelihood is in danger because of the Oscars slap
Smith resigned from the Academy and still faces potential banishment, but those are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the consequences of his actions.
According to his IMDb page, Smith has several acting projects in various stages of development. Because of the slap, those projects are indefinitely on hold.
The Apple TV+ project Emancipation, which Smith produced and stars in, was scheduled to stream in 2022, but Apple hasn’t announced a date and declined to comment on the project, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The Netflix movie Fast and Loose, another project Smith produced and was set to star in, experienced a shakeup even before the Oscars incident. Now, Netflix seems to have pressed pause, per THR. The status of Bad Boys 4 is in flux, too.
Smith has (or had) several projects on the horizon, but one poor split-second decision puts his livelihood in jeopardy. His massive net worth means he’ll still be able to live comfortably, but it seems his acting career could slow down considerably. But for how long?
Will he ever come back from the Academy Awards incident?
Production companies and distributors are already distancing themselves from Smith, but how long with it last? The short answer is that it all depends.
It depends on how seriously the Academy takes its code of conduct and how strictly they want to enforce it, but even that is a toss-up.
Roman Polanski resides at the other end of the spectrum. He fled the United States after pleading guilty to statutory rape in 1977 (per The Guardian), but he later earned three Academy Award nominations. He won best director for The Pianist in 2002, and he was part of the best picture nomination for the film the same year. Additionally, he earned a best director nod in 1979 for Tess, starring Nastassja Kinski.
Will Smith’s future at the Academy Awards might be up in the air, but we already know his acting roles might be harder to come by.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.