“Always good to see ol’ Slappy Smith back”: Fans Troll Will Smith After He Says He Respects Audience Decision To Not See Him in ‘Emancipation’
8 months ago, the 94th Academy Awards stood witness to the Will Smith and Chris Rock “Oscars slapgate” incident that resulted in the institution banning the former from the event for the following decade. Even though Will Smith may not have projected a violent streak in public media before the ill-fated night, his violent outburst against Chris Rock reverberated across the live audience and the ones viewing the program on television. The wide-reaching influence of social media did the rest of the job by playing the clip for the world to see and judge.
Soon, celebrities and audiences alike began standing against the Hollywood star en masse, and although Will Smith has come forward several times vying for Chris Rock’s forgiveness and eventual reconciliation, it looks like the latter is intent on staying away from Smith, let alone give him a satisfactory closure by accepting his apology.
Fans Want to Keep Will Smith’s Name Out of Their Watchlist
The dramatic showdown that led to the public and global shunning of the once-beloved actor has followed Will Smith to the doorsteps of his career. With Apple TV+ having already once considered dropping Emancipation, the decision to restart work on the project with Will Smith in the lead proved to be contentious among the audience. Now, what was most evidently feared by Smith’s PR team ever since the March 27th incident has finally happened — echoes of the Oscars slap have caused a ripple effect large enough to destroy Will Smith’s Hollywood future.
Emancipation was meant to be a dream project for the Bad Boys For Life actor apparently since he had always displayed a revulsion toward the cinematic portrayal of slavery for commercial purposes. The historical implications allegedly proved too great a burden to bear for Will Smith even if the movie was borderline revolutionary. However, that theory was soon debunked by Smith himself when he refused Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained stating that he thought the role he was offered wasn’t the lead (Smith was offered the role of Django but he assumed Christoph Waltz was the main protagonist).
Further bad decisions then continued to follow the actor when he finally found the ultimate masterpiece in the Antoine Fuqua film, but the incident at the 94th Academy Awards (not Smith winning the Best Actor Oscar) put a halt to the plans for Emancipation and its production. But now that the film is finally here, the fans want nothing to do with the actor or his latest project.
Twitter Lashes Out Against Will Smith Before Emancipation
On the eve of Emancipation‘s global release, Twitter has dug its dormant rage onto the surface once again after Will Smith publicly apologized to his fans asking them not to “penalize” the film. In a Fox 5 interview, the actor said,
“I completely understand that, if someone is not ready. I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready. My deepest concern is my team. Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work in his entire career … the people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team.
So at this point, that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping that the material, the power of the film, the timeliness of the story – I’m hoping that the good that can be done – will open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognise and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”
But the comments only served to provoke the online crowd’s reaction and fueled a bevy of criticism, backlash, and some unexpected support in the aftermath of the interview.
While both factions of the debate have voiced their opinion, there are scores of fans who are currently standing in support of Will Smith and his new film. Inspired by the true story of a slave named Whipped Peter, the script written by Bill Collage seeks to highlight the life, struggle, and eventual escape of the man whose scarred back, immortalized by an 1863 photograph stands as one of the most enduring images of the nation’s horrific, institutionalized, and bloody history.
Emancipation premieres on 9 December 2022.