Laugh Factory supports Chris Rock’s ‘right to free speech’ after ‘really low’ act by Will Smith
Curtis Flagg, President of Operations at Laugh Factory Chicago, joins ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ to discuss the response to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars and our culture’s siege against comedy at large.
Comedian Chris Rock mocked politicians and lambasted celebrities during his California show Friday evening, but mostly dodged the controversial moment at the Oscars when Will Smith slapped him on stage.
Between quips on the royal family and even Hillary Clinton, Rock jokingly told the Fantasy Springs crowd that his hearing has returned but that he would not comment further on the slap heard around Hollywood until he was properly paid.
“I’m OK, I have a whole show and I’m not talking about that until I get paid. Life is good. I got my hearing back,” Rock said, as the Desert Sun reported.
Rock received a standing ovation at the conclusion of Friday’s show, the Desert Sun reported.
Earlier that same day, the Academy’s Board of Governors announced they were banning Smith from all events and awards appearances under the Oscars title for 10 years.
Boston, MA – March 30: Ticket holders enter the Wilbur Theater to see actor/comedian Chris Rock at the Wilbur Theater for the first of his two performances on March 30, 2022. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
“I accept and respect the academy’s decision,” the actor said in a statement on Friday.
The Academy failed to properly address Smith and the slap, which undoubtedly met the definition of assault, the board of governors said in a statement.
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage,” the board wrote, announcing the ban.
Will Smith appears to slap Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
((Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images))
The governors added: “During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.”
Ahead of the letter, Smith announced his resignation from the Academy and has since publicly apologized to Rock.
“I have directly responded to the academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” Smith said on April 1. “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
Will Smith yells at Chris Rock from his seat at the Oscar’s after physically assaulting him on stage on Sunday, March 27, 2022. (Screenshot/ABC)
“I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work,” he added. “I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”
In the governors’ letter, they said the Academy accepted Smith’s resignation.
“Today, the board of governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. The board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” the letter continued.
And: “We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.
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