Veteran actor says Will Smith should return Oscar

(The Hill) — Veteran actor Harry J. Lennix mentioned that Will Smith should return his Oscar within the wake of Smith’s onstage altercation with comic Chris Rock late final month.

In a Variety column printed on Saturday, Lennix, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, wrote that Smith wants to appreciate that actions have penalties, including that the most suitable choice for him is to return his award. 

“Smith needs to express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: ‘Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian,’ ” Lennix wrote in his column. 

“Of the many unsettling things said in the aftermath of the slap, the most galling to me was his reference to the influence of a higher power during his surreal acceptance speech after he won for his work in ‘King Richard’ less than an hour after his act of violence — and the Academy’s equally shocking decision not to eject Smith from the ceremony,” Lennix added. 

Smith slapped Rock after the comic joked about Smith’s spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith then received the most effective male actor Oscar later within the night for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’s father, Richard Williams, within the biopic “King Richard.” 

Lennix additionally wrote that the incident stripped the “prestige” from the award ceremony, noting that different attendees gave Smith a standing ovation after he received the Oscar. 

“The stain on the Motion Picture Academy cannot be easily remediated. The only hope for a justifiable grace must involve Smith voluntarily returning his award for best actor,” Lennix concluded in his column. 

The academy’s Board of Governors introduced on Friday they’ve positioned Smith on a 10-year ban from attending any academy occasion on account of his altercation with Rock. 

In an announcement to The Hill, Smith, who resigned as a member of the academy earlier this month, accepted the punishment handed to him by the Board of Governors, saying, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.” 

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