Sean Penn Criticizes Will Smith’s Oscars Slap and Draws Parallels to His Own Past

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Sean Penn Criticizes Will Smith's Oscars Slap and Draws Parallels to His Own Past

Los Angeles, CA – September 15, 2023

The aftermath of the infamous Oscars slap involving Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards still lingers in the air, and actor Sean Penn has voiced his opinion on the matter.

In a recent conversation with Variety, Sean Penn delved into the controversy, questioning the rationale behind Smith’s actions and the subsequent response from the audience. Penn, who had met Smith once and found him amiable, couldn’t fathom why a talented actor like Smith would engage in such behavior, especially after delivering an outstanding performance in “King Richard.”

Penn candidly remarked, “So why the heck did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this foolish thing? Why did I go to jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?”

Penn’s reference to jail stemmed from his own past, where he served a 60-day sentence for assaulting an “extra” on the set of his movie “Colors” back in 1987 when he was just 26 years old. His contrasting experiences with legal repercussions seemed to draw a parallel to Smith’s situation.

For context, after the incident at the Oscars, Smith stepped down from his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which enforced a ten-year prohibition on his participation in its events. Smith publicly apologized to Chris Rock through a video message, acknowledging his behavior as unacceptable. He expressed remorse without succumbing to self-shame, emphasizing that he’s human and made a mistake.

While the incident remains a point of contention and debate, Sean Penn’s comments underscore the complexity of the situation and the ongoing conversation surrounding it. As the controversy continues to reverberate in Hollywood, it serves as a reminder of the challenges and controversies that can accompany even the most illustrious careers.

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