Why Are The Academy Even Debating Revoking Will Smith’s Oscar?

Many are pointing out that actually abusive men and convicted sex offenders like Harvey Weinstein And Roman Polanski have kept theirs...

Will Smith

by Georgia Aspinall |

Yesterday, it was announced that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have launched a formal review into Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars on Sunday, following the actor slapping host Chris Rock on stage.

‘The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,’ a spokesperson for the organization told Variety. ‘We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.’

It’s an interesting reaction, with many now wondering if said consequence will include revoking Will’s academy award. Will won best actor for his role in King Richard where he plays the father of Serena and Venus Williams. In his speech, Will apologised to the viewing audience and the Academy for slapping Chris, appearing to blame his fierce protectiveness of his family.

While many fans and celebrities alike seem to be supporting Will through this, some are demanding he return his Oscar. But one must note, while the Academy claims to condemn violence, they have never revoked an Oscar from those film stars who have committed much more heinous, repugnant crimes across their lifetime.

Harvey Weinstein, for example, has won two academy awards for Best Picture. When he was accused of sexual abuse in 2017, the Academy released a statement saying they would meet ‘to discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the Academy’. They later chose to expel him from their board of directors, at the time only the second person to be so after Carmine Caridi’s 2004 expulsion for leaking screeners sent to him. However, none of his awards have ever been revoked.

While later, in 2018, the Academy later expelled Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from the academy for their respective sexual misconduct convictions, these were highly controversial. Roman, for example, received three of his Academy Award nominations and won Best Director after he was a convicted rapist. His conviction came in 1977 at the age of 43, when he was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. He fled to France before his sentence, continuing to direct five critically acclaimed films, despite being a wanted man in the USA.

It's been alleged that the behaviours of Weinstein and Cosby were open secrets in Hollywood – Polanski was of course known for decades. And yet, all three of these men received critical acclaim across their careers – Polanski even after conviction. And that’s just for the men convicted of these vile crimes, let’s not even start on those accused.

Of course, the actions of these men are in no way comparable to Will Smith on Sunday. Smith, a long-beloved man in Hollywood, may have been somewhat aggressive towards Chris Rock, but it’s a far cry to suggest an isolated incident of open-palm slap - in response to a highly offensive joke about his family - amounts to such violence that he would be treated more harshly than convicted abusers.

That’s the point everyone is making online now when they state that Weinstein and Polanski have kept their Oscars, because if The Academy only chooses to ‘condemn violence’ by taking away Will Smith’s Oscar, we must begin asking why excuses are made for white male abusers who target those more vulnerable than them while a Black actor faces losing his for actions one can’t even compare.

Read More:

The History Between Chris Rock, Will Smith And Jada Pinkett Smith

The Internet Is Obsessed With Liam Payne's Accent At The Oscars

Oscars 2022: The Most Hilarious Memes and Reactions

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us