- Veteran actor and Academy member Harry Lennix says Will Smith should return his Best Actor Oscar.
- On March 27, Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars for a joke about his wife.
- The academy banned Smith from attending future ceremonies, and he resigned as a member of the academy.
Actor Harry Lennix has asked Will Smith to return his Oscar after his controversial slap.
At the Oscars last month, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke alluding to his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Smith, who won best actor that night, said he stood up for his wife, who suffers from alopecia.
In an op-ed published by Variety on Saturday, Lennix wrote that Smith’s behavior undermined the integrity of the awards.
“Smith should express his gold trophy to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: ‘Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred on this award, I do not feel worthy of it’ be the guardian of it.'” the “Blacklist” actor wrote.
Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it was banning Smith from attending any academy event or program – including the Oscars – for the next 10 years amid the controversial altercation on stage.
In an open letter obtained by Insider, the academy denounced Smith’s actions as “unacceptable and harmful behavior” and said the ban is “a step towards a larger goal of protecting the safety of our artists and guests. , and to restore confidence in the Academy”.
In a statement to CNN, Smith said, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.” He also resigned from the academy on April 1, meaning he can no longer vote for the Oscars.
But Lennix called the academy ban a “toothless punishment that lays bare the superficiality of Hollywood morality.”
“At this point, the only person who can redeem the integrity of the Oscars is Smith himself,” Lennix wrote in the op-ed. “He must face the gravity of the offense he committed: slapping Rock, live on March 27 in front of millions on the Oscars stage.”
The 57-year-old actor, a member of the Motion Picture and Television Academy, said Smith, 53, should do ‘more’ in the wake of the slap, in addition to resigning from the academy and being banned from future ceremonies. and programs.
“The stain on the Motion Picture Academy cannot easily be repaired,” he wrote in the editorial. “The only hope for a justifiable pardon must involve Smith voluntarily returning his Best Actor award.”