The actor took home the best actor award for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams in “King Richard,” and what was supposed to be a grandiose night of celebration for his performance has since turned into a loud cry for Smith to have the honor rescinded as punishment for the slap, which was seen by millions across the world.
A number of stars in Hollywood have taken sides on how they feel about the incident including comedian Jim Carrey, who said he was “sickened” by the moment,” and show co-host Wanda Sykes, who told Ellen DeGeneres that she was disappointed with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ decision to allow Smith to accept his award, describing the move as “gross.”
The Academy has since claimed that they asked Smith to leave, but he refused. They also said Wednesday that they’re having “disciplinary proceedings.”
Podcast host and comedian Joe Rogan also slammed Smith for slapping Rock and questioned the Academy for letting him accept the award and give an extended speech.
“It sets a terrible precedent in so many different ways,” Rogan said during Tuesday’s episode of his podcast, the “Joe Rogan Experience.”
“It sets a terrible precedent for comedy clubs. Like, are people going to decide to go on stage and smack a comedian now?
“It’s a rare instance that someone so enormously famous and successful like Will Smith that they literally still allowed him to not just win the Academy Award, but also go up and accept it and give a speech after he assaulted a small comedian on stage,” he added.
However, in years past, the Academy has actually gone the full length as to take back an Oscar nomination for infractions against its code of conduct, which it revised in 2017 amid the fallout of the #MeToo era.
In a letter to Academy members at the time, CEO Dawn Hudson wrote that “membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers.” She added that “there is no place in the Academy for people who misuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates standards of decency.”
Here are some notable performers and directors whose Academy Award recognitions were refused, rescinded and a few who still hold Oscars in their possession.
Disgraced director and former Miramax head honcho Harvey Weinstein, who has been convicted of rape, is still in possession of his best picture Academy Award for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love.” Additionally, through his company productions, Weinstein has had hand in producing 81 Oscar wins.
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York for rape and sexual assault, faces 11 counts in California, including rape and sexual battery involving five incidents that allegedly took place between 2004 and 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 140 years behind bars.
The Polish-French “Chinatown” director, 88, who pleaded guilty to statutory rape, has never returned to the United States since fleeing the country in 1978 ahead of his sentencing.
The “Pianist” filmmaker won the 2003 best director Oscar but was not present to accept the trophy. He remains on the run from justice in Europe for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl in the U.S. about 40 years ago.
Meanwhile, actor Mel Gibson — who has displayed a history of anti-Semitic remarks — also still has his 1996 Oscar wins for best picture and best director when he took home the honors for “Braveheart.”
In December 2021, “Scandal” actor Joshua Malina even declared that cancel culture does not exist as long as the “Lethal Weapon” performer can continue to have a career.
“If Gibson is welcomed back to direct the latest installment of this beloved franchise, it may be time to stop publishing think pieces about the power of ‘cancel culture,’” Malina wrote in an op-ed for The Atlantic at the time. “Because if he can continue to find big bucks and approbation in Hollywood, cancel culture simply does not exist.”
Gibson’s incidents include the actor’s 2006 detention by a police officer for alleged drunk driving that led to an anti-Semitic rant directed at the officer, who was Jewish.
Later, infamous voicemails in 2010 heard Gibson using racist and misogynistic language directed at then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and his “no contest” plea to charges of domestic battery against her the following year.
OTHER CONTROVERSIAL OSCAR MOMENTS
The 1953 John Wayne film was nominated for best story (now best original screenplay) only to have its recognition taken away after the film’s script was found to not have been original and was based on an already-existing storyline.
MARLON BRANDO DECLINES OSCAR WIN
At the 1973 Oscars, the “Godfather” actor didn’t accept his Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia flick, instead electing to have Sacheen Littlefeather — who at the time was president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee — accept the honor on Brando’s behalf.
She said the actor could not accept the award because “of the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns.”
Littlefeather was admonished in real-time while giving her speech but persisted through the loud boos filling the room.
“I beg at this time that I have not intruded on this evening, and that … in the future our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity,” Littlefeather added as she rejected the Academy Award for Brando.
“13 HOURS” SOUND MIXER ACCUSED OF LOBBYING
In 2017, the film directed by Smith’s “Bad Boys” director Michael Bay and starring John Krasinski secured its only nomination for best achievement in sound mixing.
However, just one day before the awards show was to be held, Greg P. Russell, who was a member of the sound team had his nomination revoked by the Academy’s Board of Governors after it was discovered that he had been telephone lobbying for votes.