Actor Harry Lennix Receives Backlash After Calling For Will Smith To Return His Oscar After Infamous Slap, Says Smith Needs To ‘Redeem the Integrity’ of the Academy Awards
Actor and Motion Picture Academy member Harry Lennix says Will Smith should turn over his Oscar award amid slapping Chris Rock on stage!
Harry Lennix, 57, –who’s best known for his roles in ‘Ray,’ ‘Man Of Steel,’ ‘The Five Heartbeats,’ and ‘The Matrix’–spoke candidly about the controversial moment and his thoughts on the punishment Will Smith is receiving, referring to Smith’s 10 year ban from the Oscars as a “little more than an extended time out for a playground bully,” calling it a “toothless penalty that lays bare the shallowness of Hollywood morals.” In an op-ed for Variety, Harry Lennix wrote:
“At this point, the only person who can redeem the integrity of the Oscars is Smith himself. He needs to come to grips with the gravity of the offense he committed: slapping Rock, live on March 27 in front of millions on the Academy Awards stage.”
“Smith needs to express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: ‘Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian.'”
The ‘Blacklist’ actor also shared his lack of appreciation for Will Smith’s acceptance speech later that evening.
“Of the many unsettling things said in the aftermath of the slap, the most galling to me was his reference to the influence of a higher power during his surreal acceptance speech after he won for his work in “King Richard” less than an hour after his act of violence — and the Academy’s equally shocking decision not to eject Smith from the ceremony.”
Harry Lennix continued,
“This attempt to explain his actions added to the travesty of this ethical catastrophe. In coaching his acceptance speech as somehow submitting to the will of God, Smith abdicated personal accountability.”
The veteran actor is now receiving backlash for his harsh remarks on Will Smith. Actress/comedian, Yvette Nicole Brown took to social media to repost Harry Lennix’s op-ed, publicly disagreeing with the actor and his call to have the award taken away from Smith. Brown wrote,
“Nope. This ain’t it. Will has apologized repeatedly, resigned from the academy, can’t attend any events for TEN years and has lost his work opportunities. When is it enough?!”
See reactions below:
As previously reported, Will Smith shocked viewers nationwide when he hit comedian Chris Rock on the Oscar stage. The slap came after Chris Rock made an insensitive joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, bald head caused by her alopecia condition. Shortly after the incident, the Academy released a statement saying an official review around the incident would be held to “explore further action and consequences”.
Chris Rock, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith
Since the incident, Will Smith issued a public apology for the “unacceptable and inexcusable” actions that took place during the awards show. In addition, Will Smith has made the decision to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He said in a statement:
“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. I betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
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