Comment Of The Day: “Now We Have Will Smith’s ‘Real’ Apology”

I have a lot of reactions to mermaidmary99’s Comment of the Day regarding the Will Smith debacle that dominated the past week after it turned into a full-blown Ethics Train Wreck. But her post is provocative, and represents an important perspective. I’ll leave my comments until after she’s had her say.

This is mermaidmary’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Now We Have Will Smith’s ‘Real’ Apology”…


I don’t think it’s fair to assume the worst about him.
What he did would take a LOT of time to process.

When one snaps the way he did, it’s not because you had a bad day.
In my experience it’s because of a lot of things which have been buried, denied and all those things were trigged in that moment.

Will is a human being and I think it’s on us to extend a bit of mercy and kindness when we see good actions.

No one knows if the apologized to Chris Rock yet, and I don’t blame him or Chris if they kept it private, for now.

I just think that we could refrain from being so judgemental about every move he makes and if it means he’s sorry or not, or assign motives to everything.

Unless we know for certain, those things are pure speculation.

Why not hope the best?

I am speaking from experience. I am a bit reluctant to share them but I will for the sake of maybe some understanding and mercy being extended his way. Continue reading

Now We Have Will Smith’s “Real” Apology

First he slapped Chris Rock in full view of America and the world, tainting a once-iconic tradition that was already shaky. Then he returned to his seat in the theater, as if nothing had happened, and shouted an obscenity at his victim. After being allowed to remain at the scene of the crime (and massive exposure of his broken ethics alarms) though he had been asked to leave and refused, Will Smith triumphantly accepted the Oscar for Best Actor, using his speech to rationalize his conduct, never coming close to a genuine apology.

Then he partied the night away like any other self-obsessed Hollywood celebrity.

Last night, after issuing a pro forma Instagram “apology” that was wretched by any standard (It was a #6 at best and a #10 at worst on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale), Smith took a third metaphorical swing at the contrition ball he had missed twice, and at least made contact.

He announced that he was resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, in the course of this statement:

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Ethics Hero: Chris Rock (Plus A Word About Bald Jokes And Snopes Joining The Ethics Train Wreck) [UPDATED!]

UPDATE: 11:45, 3/30/45: Rock briefly addressed the Smith attack during his concert in Boston tonight, but said nothing substantive about it. “Soooo, how was your weekend?”, he began. After the crowd responded with a standing ovation, Rock continued: “Let me be all misty and shit.I don’t have a bunch of shit to say about that, so if you came here for that…I had written a whole show before this weekend. I’m still processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that shit. It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”

And he did.


Incredibly, Chris Rock has managed to stay off the Ethics Train Wreck that he unfairly was the catalyst for. Bravo, Chris. This alone makes him a worthy Ethics Hero. Consider:

  • He wisely and coolly resisted the impulse to defend himself physically when Will Smith ambushed him. It doesn’t matter that he’s a much smaller man and Smith had played Muhammad Ali. A couple months ago, Rock mused ruefully about his being bullied as a child, and regretted still letting people “walk all over him.” In the heat of the moment, he could have struck back at Smith, and might have even gained some support by doing so—and it would have wrecked the Oscars more than Smith, the fumbling, cowardly producers and the disgraceful audience in the auditorium wrecked it as it was.
  • He refused to file charges. He was well within his rights to do so, but withholding that indignity was a kindness to Smith and the Academy, neither of whom deserved it.
  • He has said nothing about the incident at all in public. Good. Literally nothing he said could do anything but make matters worse. Criticizing Smith would allow the media to promote a “feud,” obliterating the real issues. Accepting Smith’s bogus apology would be another example of letting bullies walk all over him: I’d criticize Rock for that, because it would validate Smith’s hypocrisy and attempt at an easy escape from accountability. Rocks brother says Smith has yet to contact Chris personally.
  • Chris Rock also wins the first Ethics Alarms “If” award, named for my father’s favorite poem.   So far, he has embodied the first verse to the finest detail:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

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