Entertainment

Netflix And Sony Are Officially Pausing Will Smith-Led Projects – And People Are Conflicted

It’s no secret that this year’s Oscars ceremony was clouded by a now very infamous slap that was immediately heard around the world.

As you probably know, Chris Rock said a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense, comparing her to G.I. Jane — a dig at her battle with hair loss due to alopecia. Will Smith then walked up on stage and proceeded to slap Rock in the face, telling the comedian, “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” Immediately, the internet exploded with memes, because of course it did:

But really, most of us are feeling a little bit like this by now:

Still, there has been much talk about possible consequences for the “I Am Legend” actor after the slap — for one, will he keep his Best Actor award?

After the shocking moment, Smith accepted the award for his starring role in “King Richard,” with much of Hollywood wondering if the Academy would ask the actor to hand it back. With a strict code of conduct, the Academy vowed to handle the slap with “appropriate action,” and now Smith has officially resigned from the Academy for good. 

While many people thought the debacle was finally over and done with (we can’t see yet another photo of that slap ever again), it’s not.

In fact, in some ways, it seems to just be getting started: Netflix and Sony have decided to stop working on projects attached to Smith. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is pausing production of “Fast and Loose,” starring Will Smith as a crime boss with memory loss, while Sony is also putting a hold on “Bad Boys 4.” 

As expected, these decisions are controversial — especially since reactions to “the slap” itself were so divided in the first place.

While many people immediately reacted with anger or shock at the slap, with stars like Jim Carrey and Zoe Kravitz condemning the violence, it is a deeply multi-layered issue. As one Twitter user wrote, “to make a hair joke when Jada is suffering from Alopecia is really kind of gross,” while another said, “Black women are expected to endure misogynoir, in public, without comment.”

Now that Will Smith is seeing serious consequences for the slap, the controversy only continues to grow. 

One Twitter user wrote, “All you gotta know to understand that money cannot shield someone from racism is that Netflix and Sony have pulled Will Smith projects … and Louis CK just won a Grammy,” referring to the many allegations against the latter for sexual misconduct.

Another agreed, writing, “I wish they had the same [measures] for actors or director who have been denounced for sexual assault and abuse.”

While some seem to be happy about the news, others are taking a different approach altogether — humor. One user said, “Will Smith slapped another zero on the end of Chris Rock’s next Netflix check, too,” while another imagined, “It could have been worse. Will Smith could have attacked Dave Chappelle, which would have led to 4 Netflix lecture specials about it.”

It’s clear that the reactions to Smith’s projects being put on hold vary, but one Twitter user put it simply: “Canceling Will Smith for self defense, but not the rapists, child predators, money launderers and actual criminals on your platform has racist undertones.”

This article has been updated for accuracy.

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