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Will Smith must return Oscar to restore ‘national conscience,’ says Harry Lenix



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A member of the Movement Image Academy referred to as Will Smith’s 10-year Oscar ban a “toothless penalty” and mentioned the performer ought to “voluntarily” return his award for best actor.

Veteran display and stage actor Harry Lennix in contrast Smith’s penalty for smacking Chris Rock over a joke “an prolonged outing for a playground bully” that “lays naked the vanity of Hollywood morals” in a scathing Variety op-ed Saturday.

Lennix, a prolific character actor finest identified for his position in “The 5 Heartbeats,” mentioned it was “galling” for Smith to have been allowed to just accept his “King Richard” Oscar and seek advice from the “will of God” in his speech.

“Smith’s brutality stripped all the night of its status,” Lennix, 57, wrote. “That was confirmed when surprised Oscar attendees gave a standing ovation to somebody who’d simply dedicated an assault in entrance of their eyes.”

Rock had cracked a bald joke about Smith’s spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia. Lennix had performed a love curiosity of Pinkett Smith’s character Niobe in “The Matrix” sequence.

Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘King Richard’ during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Main Function award through the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood.
Getty Pictures

“With one deft blow, Will Smith created an existential disaster for the Academy of Movement Image Arts & Sciences,” Lennix mentioned. “The incident was such a jolt to societal norms that it’ll gnaw away at our nationwide conscience till one way or the other correctly atoned for.”

Smith resigned from the Academy earlier than it levied its decade-long ban on the actor, however Lennix mentioned the punishment didn’t match the crime.

“The stain on the Movement Image Academy can’t be simply remediated. The one hope for a justifiable grace should contain Smith voluntarily returning his award for finest actor.”

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock through the 94th Oscars on the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.
AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Smith apologized to Rock on-line a day after the incident. Rock had but to speak in detail about the attack and declined to press charges.

The Academy was mentioned to be break up on forcing Smith to return his trophy. Some dissenters famous that honorees convicted of great crimes like Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski have been allowed to carry onto theirs, whereas others argued the extraordinarily public nature of Smith’s assault demanded the unprecedented rescindment.