Free Speech

Speech, Violence & the State? Plus, A Life Lesson For All.

from The Gray Area:
3/28/22; updated 3/29/22:
The Oscar's had a viral moment last night. Will Smith walked on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock for a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. A number of angles to 'the slap' are being discussed this morning. Each make a point and have passionate supporters. Like so many issues today, emotionally highlighting angles of personal import on an issue, without evaluating the whole, does not help us as a society. Let's stop running around the edge of issues and get to the heart of the matter. The article below points out all but a couple of angles circling this event and then succinctly describes the real issue.
  • One angle not discussed surrounding Will Smith's relationship with his wife Jada Pinkett. Is he a battered husband? Their may be more to that angle given he laughed before, then he approached the stage after Jada did not laugh.
  • Another angle missing is, why wasn't Will Smith removed from the event for assaulting a presenter on stage? Good question. If Chris Rock had made an issue about it, I would expect Will Smith would & should have been removed. (The LAPD said in a statement that Rock declined to press charges.).
Without specifically stating each issue, the author's conclusion covers the real issue. Unacceptable behavior by Will Smith. UPDATE: Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences criticized Will Smith for hitting the comedian Chris Rock, who had told a joke about his wife. They have opened an inquiry into the incident. UPDATE: Will Smith issues apology to Chris Rock. Also, a life lesson emerged almost immediately from this event. Denzel Washington approached Will Smith and said: At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you’, Smith recalled. If you are willing to heed such advice, this message will set you free.
from Fort Worth Star Telegram,
Will Smith's slap of Chris Rock vividly demonstrated why we must resist the idea that “speech is violence.” ... there must always be a bright line between actual physical assault and words, however hurtful. Otherwise, the state’s duty to regulate violence will extend to language, and that’s the end of free speech rights, possibly forever. More From Fort Worth Star Telegram: More From NME:

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