Academy President Janet Yang Was So Clueless She Thought Will Smith Oscars Slap Was a Skit: “Oh my God, this is real”

Almost a year later, the Academy is still debating the consequences of the infamous Oscars slap. Janet Yang, the Academy’s president, has responded to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at last year’s ceremony, calling it “inadequate.” During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, she admitted that she was completely unaware of the slap. 

Last year, Smith smacked Rock across the face after the comedian made an unscripted vulgar joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith while accepting the Oscar for best documentary feature. 

Janet Yang
Janet Yang

According to the Academy, Smith was asked to leave the ceremony, and Rock later decided not to press charges. Shortly after the incident, the After Earth actor won an Oscar for best actor for his performance in King Richard, and he ended his emotional acceptance speech by saying, “I hope the Academy invites me back.” 

Also Read: ‘Chris Is Obsessed With Her’: Jada Smith’s Response To Chris Rock Reportedly Proves Their Rivalry Stretches As Long As 30 Years

Janet Yang’s Reaction to Will Smith’s Oscar Slap 

Janet Yang told Scott Feinberg, the host of The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, about her thoughts while witnessing the 2022 slap incident. Yang said, “Truly, we were numb.”

She, like the rest of the audience, found it amusing at first. She assumed the entire slapping incident was part of a pre-planned skit. “He’s going to pretend he slaps him, and Chris is going to act stunned,” she added. “And then it was like, ‘Ok, well that’s over.’”

“Oh my God, this is real,” everyone exclaimed, including Yang when Smith returned to his seat and began yelling at Rock.

Janet Yang
Janet Yang

Almost a year ago, Will Smith smacked Chris Rock on the Academy Awards stage. As a result, he did not attend this year’s Oscars night held on March 13, 2023. 

He was named best actor for his performance in King Richard last year. The previous year’s winners are traditionally invited back to present an acting award.  However, for the 2023 ceremony, this was not the case.

Also Read: “I Am Not Going To Be A Victim”: Chris Rock Turned Down Oprah Winfrey’s Offer After Will Smith Slapped Him At Oscars

Academy ‘Outraged’ On The Infamous Slap 

In a letter obtained by CNN, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said its leaders were “upset and outraged” by Will Smith’s behavior at the 2022 Oscars. Smith has been chastised for storming onto the Academy Awards stage and slapping presenter Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

While the Academy issued a statement condemning the Focus actor’s actions soon after the telecast, they were harsher in a letter to members a few days later. Smith was ultimately barred from attending the Oscars for ten years. As per ‌new Academy President, Janet Yang, “What happened onstage was fully unacceptable and the response from our organization was inadequate.”

A year after the Academy’s contentious decision to move a few awards to a pre-recorded ceremony, Yang drew applause from the audience when she announced that all of this year’s trophies will be given live.

Will Smith
Will Smith

The nominees were then reminded of the ‘45 second rule,’ which she explained. In other words, winners were only given 45 seconds to give their acceptance speeches. “Please keep it short, sweet, and to the point,” Yang advised.

On the work front, Smith is preparing for his first acting role with Sony for Bad Boys 4 and Netflix for Fast and Loose. On the other hand, the March 4 premiere of Chris Rock’s Netflix comedy special Selective Outrage focused on the aftermath of the Infamous Slap incident. 

Also Read: “He Is Going To Pretend He Slaps Him”: Academy President Initially Thought Will Smith Fake Slapped Chris Rock, Says He Deserves His Oscar Despite The Controversy

Source- The Hollywood Reporter

Siddhika Prajapati
Siddhika Prajapati

Flights of occasional fantasies, strong opinions, encouraging hyperbole, and good grammar are what describe her. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism, she is the Senior Entertainment Writer at Animated Times, who is madly in love with the lights, camera, and action sector. An entertainment enthusiast by day, a dreamer, and occasionally a stargazer by night, she enjoys turning words into tiny yarn balls for poetry that readers might find admirable. You would find her buried under printed fiction who is heavily influenced by dark humor.

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