Oscars: Will Smith’s lack of self-control sets shameful example to the world – The Yorkshire Post says

THAT Hollywood actor Will Smith’s reputation is now so besmirched over his reaction to the mocking of his wife at the Oscars shows that much more needs to be done to eliminate the scourge of toxic masculinity from contemporary society.

He had every right to be offended when Chris Rock made a crass gag about his wife Jada Pinkett’s hair when she suffers from alopecia. And he would have been hailed a hero if he’d walked onto the stage to say that such insults are unbecoming of the Academy Awards and the modern world.

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But that Smith slapped Rock, and then used X-rated language to condemn the stand-up comedian, saw the ceremony become as tawdry as the build-up to a Las Vegas boxing bout when showbusiness should have been lauding the 53-year-old for his Oscar-winning portrayal of the tennis coach Richard Williams in King Richard.

presenter Chris Rock, left, reacts after being hit on stage by Will Smith while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

As MPs like Tory backbencher Simon Hoare defend Smith, the actor’s actions raise uncomfortable issues which cannot be ignored on this side of the Atlantic. Domestic abuse is rife. Women are the victims of misogyny on a daily basis. There are children taking their own lives because of bullying. Yet, tragically, there will be impressionable young men who regard Smith as such a role model that they’re misguided enough to believe that his physical and verbal violence is acceptable. It is not. And the fact that, as a consequence, there will be school pupils who think that they, too, can replicate the actor’s behaviour against classmates is another reminder why youngsters need to be encouraged to look up to those male role models who have more self-control than Will Smith.

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Will Smith accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.