Fallout of "The Slap", or What Are We To Make Of Will Smith Now?

Variety speculates that Will Smith has damaged Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming movie, Emancipation, in which Smith plays a slave who joins the Union army:

It sounds like Apple is going to have to sit on the movie for a bit to see which way the wind is blowing.

And if you’ve seen Death on the Nile, it’s pretty funny to see how carefully Disney edited around Armie Hammer for the trailer so he’s either not onscreen or you can only see the back of his head. There is basically a single glimpse of his face in the trailer.

-Tom

I somehow missed the whole Armie Hammer thing. Now I know and I kinda wish I didn’t.

I re-watched Margin Call a couple nights ago, and you can’t really see Kevin Spacey quite the same way, despite how great his performance is in that–and everything (going back to The Ref, which I remember seeing and saying “I don’t know who that guy is, but he’s surprisingly good.”)

** I should add, I don’t think a systemic abuser like Kevin Spacey is not necessarily the same thing as Will Smith’s situation. I know people have speculated that the ability to walk up to someone in public and slap them indicates some kind of abusive tendency or disordered relationship with violence, but I think that’s just speculation at this point.

Yeah, that one really stung. Spacey was one of my absolute favorite actors right up until he became one of my least favorite human beings.

I find all this really…kind of bizarre.

In an era of #MeToo and the rampant sexual assault that’s gone on, and all the scandals and toxicity that Hollywood has put up with over the years without really taking too much action…

I mean, I’m not ever going to say that what happened was “okay,” by any means.

But at what point does the punishment become excessive for one open-handed slap? He didn’t beat the guy bloody, he didn’t knock him down and start kicking the crap out of him. Yes, it was a physical altercation, but is it completely stupid that I think even something like that can be measured in degrees, and what he did was probably meant more to make a point than actually HURT the guy and…I dunno.

I’m not one to condone violence, I’m really not. And I think Smith had just enough time to weigh things out and I believe he decided the point he was trying to make was important enough that he would accept whatever consequences came from it, even if he regretted it the next day.

But I don’t necessarily think he should be taboo forever. He made a bad judgement call in an emotional moment. That’s hugely different than…so many other things we’ve seen lately.

I’ve read this, and I think it’s a pretty good leap. I don’t know what goes on behind their closed doors, but I think there’s a pretty wide gap between one man bitch-slapping another man for taking a jab at his wife and that same man then going home and beating on his family.

I agree with you in principle, but I think—fairly or not—this is different because the offense itself was public. We all saw the slap happen, or could rewatch it. I am thankful we don’t see most of the worst behavior people get up to, but I think that contrast accounts for some of what looks like a comparatively disproportionate reaction for this offense.

I mean yeah that’s undoubtedly the kicker. It happened literally right in front of everyone’s faces, which does it make it kinda hard to sweep under the rug and act like it didn’t happen. And I’m not saying I would be for doing that, anyway. Sure, actions have consequences.

But petty shoplifting might get someone community service while grand theft auto you’ll probably serve time for.

He looked like a fool, he resigned from The Academy, and there’s going to be some kind of hearing in a few weeks to decide what THEY want to do about it.

That seems sufficient to me, honestly. But obviously that’s just my opinion.

In time nobody will care what Smith did. I am not sure how many people care now.

So far there hasn’t been any punishment at all, so I’d say “not yet.”

I mean, a fair amount of public humiliation, and he resigned from The Academy. Which, sure, was his choice, but it was definitely in contrition. And several of his projects seem to be getting…“reprioritized.”

“Won’t somebody think of poor Will Smith?!” is certainly a take. Personally I’m not concerned that the pendulum has swung too far just yet.

Let’s hope at least it’ll at least be enough of a pain in the ass to Smith and his career to be an object lesson to man-children everywhere to keep their goddamn hands off other people’s bodies.

You know…stuff we teach 5-year-olds.

I plan to return to thinking of Will Smith the same way I have for the last 15 years: practically never.

If nothing else, keeping them off someone else’s body on live television at the industry’s most important event of the year.

If he would have slapped Chris Rock off camera at an after party it would have been an article on TMZ and nobody would have given a shit.

Well that’s mischaracterizing my take somewhat. I’m not “oh poor guy” for either one of them. They’re both grown men, they’re both quite wealthy and successful. They’re both going to be fine, here, for sure. It’s just…

This is kind of my point. Yes, it was a public forum, so of course some action has to be taken, but really…WHY is this such a big deal to the producers and distributors? Do they think nobody is going to go see a Will Smith movie now?

It was a fairly minor altercation that just happened to take place in an extremely public setting, but it just doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal. Worth talking about? Somewhat, for a little bit, sure. But should it radically alter either of their careers?

Fair enough.

There is a lot of heat on this right now. Give it a few months and all these conversations are going to get back on track. Will Smith is a very bankable movie star - he’s going to be fine.

I think what’s happened so far is better characterized as consequences than punishment. Apple delaying a movie is about them considering what current public opinion of him will do to the popularity of the film, not Apple sending him a message about the morality of his actions.

So does Apple have grounds to sue Smith for messing up their movie? Has this happened before where a movie was about to release and an actor tanked its financial success through inappropriate actions?

I know it’s kind of messy since it’s on streaming. Just curious.

Prediction: it will have no impact at all in roughly three months. Half the nation is in unspoken support of him standing up for his wife, I’d guess. If Tom Cruise is still making movies after having a string of cult wives/childbearers/maybe-beards, Smith is on easy street.