94th Academy Awards

Nayabimarsha (Weekly Newspaper from Nepal)

In the past few weeks, the media has been reporting the incident that took place during the world famous 94th Academy Awards ceremony for motion pictures, on 27th March 2022, in Hollywood, USA. In many ways the incident has overshadowed the rest of the ceremony. One of the presenters and comedian, Chris Rock was making jokes to lighten the mood during the presentations. As many comedians do, they try to choose someone who is in the audience and make comments about them, usually funny. However, this year the comedian chose Jada Pinkett Smith the wife of one of the principal actors Will Smith, and made fun of her illness. Chris Rock said “Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2. Can’t wait to see it”, because she had shaved her head due to a condition called alopecia which causes people to loss clumps of their hair. After the comedian made this joke about her illness, Will Smith took offence on behalf of his wife. He walked onto the stage and slapped the presenter across the face and then walked back and retook his seat. Shouting back “Keep my wife’s name out your mouth!” He was annoyed that the presenter would make fun and shame his wife in this way. Now, Jada Smith had herself spoken about her condition to highlight it on social media, bringing it to the attention of the public. Personally, I believe no one should have to hide an illness, as sickness is part of life, although no one should either be made to feel ashamed or humiliated about it. Later in the program the actor won an award for best actor and during his speech he focused on his need to protect those around him and apologized to the Academy and to the other nominees, but not to Chris Rock. He received a standing ovation from those present! The following day however, when a calmer mind prevailed, he formally apologized to Rock, and then Smith announced his resignation from the Academy on 1st April 2022 describing his behaviour as “unacceptable and inexcusable”.

Nevertheless, this whole event has led to many questions, like is everything fair gain for comedians? or are some topics not open for jokes? Did the husband have the right to defend the honour of his wife? My own personal opinion is that some topics like sickness are not open for jokes, especially when it is someone else’s pain. How hurtful it must have been for the lady to hear her illness treated as if it was of little importance and yet for her, it had life changing consequences! How traumatic it must have been for her to loss her hair and then for this comedian to belittle it, what a shameful thing to do! Nonetheless, Will Smith did not have the right to slap the comedian, there were other avenues of regress open to him. Apart from that does a husband have the right to defend his wife? I believe, absolutely and he should defend his wife. Will Smith clearly lost his temper and reacted in the heat of the moment. Although that is not an excuse as the Bible in James chapter 1 verse 19 exhorts us by saying “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”. The prophet Nehemiah teaches us a lovely truth about the true and living God in Nehemiah chapter 9 verse 17 saying “… but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, …” Even though man offends God in many ways just like this comedian offended Will and Jada, he is a God who is willing to pardon and forgive us if we ask him. He is not controlled by his emotions but gracious and full of great kindness. People need to be in control of their emotions and not allow their emotions to dominate them. If it is something you do in the heat of the moment like this actor it can have terrible ramifications. His actions have damaged his career and the standing he had in society, sadly, he will now be remembered for this act of violence.

P. Pilgrim pilgrimway101@yahoo.com

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