After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars several months ago, the internet was on fire with commentators sharing their thoughts on the matter. A significant number of celebrities have also weighed in on the topic. Many people chastised Smith for his actions, while others came to his defense. One of the many stars to speak out in the aftermath was comedian and political pundit Trevor Noah, who addressed the situation with a bit of humor. But now, months later, the TV personality has some serious thoughts on the backlash that Smith (who recently apologized) has received.
In April, Trevor Noah specifically spoke about Will Smith being punished by the Academy with a ten-year ban. Noah joked that Smith’s situation could be a blessing disguised, because he doesn’t need to dress up, go to the Oscars and “attend a bunch of boring awards he doesn’t care about”. The Daily show the host even joked that he wished he was banned from the Emmys himself so he wouldn’t have to “fake happy” when losing to co-workers like John Oliver.
The comic, however, took a more serious approach when discussing the A-list actor this time around. During a long conversation on Variety Circuit of rewards podcastthe South African-born talent wondered which part of the public could quickly demolish the King Richard star after a single moment:
Trevor Noah’s assertion seems to be that someone who has had a mistake – after a generally positive career – should at least benefit from the doubt. He would rather see said person show some form of grace than be dismissed as a “garbage human being”. This notion feeds into a larger conversation about cancel culture, which has persisted for several years now. Noah went on to say that in today’s society, one can only belong to two different categories:
Other stars were incredibly vocal when discussing the slap. After this year’s Oscars, Jim Carrey said he was “sickened” by the fact that Smith received a standing ovation when he accepted his Best Actor award later that night. Carrey also said he would have sued the actor for $200 million if he was the one who got slapped. The actors spoke particularly about the incident, with Steve Harvey saying he “lost a lot of respect for [Smith].” Zoë Kravitz also called Smith shortly after the show, but recently, Kravitz explained that she wished she had handled things differently.
Amidst all the backlash, there are stars who have been in the Bright alum’s corner, however. Marlon Wayans advised Will Smith attending therapy sessions while referring to the star as “black excellence.” fresh prince alum Tatyana Ali also spoke, noting that while Chris Rock didn’t deserve to be punched, she thinks Smith has “a big heart.” While noting the ripple effects of the slap, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he’s ‘rooting’ for Smith in the middle of the situation.
It is probably fair to say that this is a situation that will certainly be discussed for years. But right now, it looks like stars like Trevor Noah will continue to strongly defend their respective views.
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