Will Smith's cancelled projects draws Twitter debate about hypocrisy

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards Copyright Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
By Jonny Walfisz
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Social media users have noted the disparate reactions to stars involved in controversies after Will Smith has had multiple projects shelved following him slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.

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It was the slap that was heard around the world. 

If there hadn’t already been enough said about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at last week’s Oscars, the latest news has stoked a whole new conversation on the internet.

As some of the productions Smith was working on have been stalled, a debate has been started about whether the repercussions he is facing fit his actions.

Paused productions

Netflix has reportedly slowed development on upcoming thriller ‘Fast and Loose’ to which Smith was attached.

The news may be coincidental, however, as the week before the Oscars and the slap-incident, the director of ‘Fast and Loose’ pulled out of the project.

That’s not the end of the bad news for Smith though. Apple+ has declined to comment on when its slave drama ‘Emancipation’ starring Smith will be released despite a planned 2022 debut. Sony has also reportedly paused development on a ‘Bad Boys 4’ project.

Since the incident, Smith has apologised and also resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences calling his own actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable”.

Twitter’s hypocrisy debate

Twitter users have been quick to react to the news of Smith’s latest projects falling through by questioning if he is facing a punishment greater than the severity of his actions.

Adriana Gomez-Weston wrote: “I know Will Smith slapped someone, but I am genuinely shocked at how quickly Hollywood is moving to end his career right now. I mean putting his movies on pause? I think that's a bit much when many abusers get away with worse and get to still have their careers.”

One of the most common comparisons was with Louis CK’s Grammy win last night. CK won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album but many people were quick to point out the comedian’s allegations of sexual misconduct from a few years ago.

“If you thought Will slapping Chris was the worst thing to happen at an award’s ceremony this year: Louis CK won a Grammy last night,” David Chipakupaku wrote.

“Louis CK just won a whole ass Grammy while y’all are either calling for Will Smith’s head or crying about cancel culture. There are no consequences for white cishet men,” Dr. Mia Brett wrote.

Other Twitter users pointed to other Hollywood stars that they believe have been let off lightly by comparison.

“How exactly did Will Smith slapping a guy cause more controversy than Ezra Miller being an actual psychopath?” user frankieA_99 asked, likely in reaction to the star’s recent arrest in Hawaii for disorderly conduct and harassment and a couple filing a restraining order on him.

“Wait until these guys hear what Roman Polański did,” Ben Stanley noted after the news of Smith’s cancelled projects.

Listing multiple stars who have had their fair share of media storms in recent years, user edckbar wrote: “Hollywood silently trying to blacklist THE Will Smith over an incident he already apologized for twice has got to be one of the most obvious examples of the systematic racism still present in the industry. Where was this energy for Ansel Elgort, Armie Hammer and Amber Heard?”

Finally, user emiliejxne wrote: “People like Chris Brown & Ronaldo still being as hugely successful as they are after what they’ve done to women yet will smith smacks a man (on behalf of a woman) and people are trying to end his career… I see”

Has Will Smith been appropriately punished for his actions? Have these other stars faced the consequences they deserved? The court of public opinion still seems to be deciding.

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