Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith’s Media Company Forced To Lay Off Staff, Couple Reportedly Struggling To Land Streaming Deals Following Infamous Oscars Slap
Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s multimedia company Westbrook has reportedly taken a hit after the “Men in Black” star infamously slapped comedian Chris Rock on live television.
According to a recent report from Semafor, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were in talks to sell their company Westbrook to Candle Media in a billion-dollar deal before the slap incident went down at the 2022 Academy Awards.
The deal would have reportedly also included Will Smith’s huge brand and Jada Pinkett Smith’s now-canceled “Red Table Talk” show. To the Smiths’ surprise, however, Candle Media and its partners valued Westbrook at only $600 million, which played a huge part in the sale falling through.
Westbrook reportedly had around 100 employees on staff. Despite the pair’s expected deal with Candle Media not going as planned, the entertainment company was still doing well with the success of the TV show “Bel-Air” and the Oscar-nominated movie “King Richard.”
Reportedly, Westbrook was even on track to earn $170 million in 2022 through various entertainment production deals, including “a variety of series for Disney+, Apple TV, Snapchat, Netflix, and Hulu.”
Unfortunately, things allegedly took a nosedive after the Academy Awards debacle. As you may recall, Will walked on stage during the ceremony and slapped Chris Rock for making a controversial joke about Jada. After making his way back to his seat, the famed actor yelled,
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth.”
Sources with knowledge of Westbrook’s finances said that following the incident, Westbrook has struggled to land business deals with streaming platforms. Many of its partners also reportedly decided not to renew their existing contracts with the media company. In addition, business profits allegedly dropped last year to $100 million, subsequently forcing the company to lay off half of its employees.
While the “Red Table Talk” was canceled by Meta in April 2023, producers of the Facebook Watch Original series are still having conversations with distributors for the show and the company has two active offers.
Meanwhile, Westbrook is working on the follow-up to Will’s 2007 hit movie “I Am Legend,” which could turn things around for the company. A release date has yet to be announced.
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