Will Smith went from beloved film favourite to Hollywood villain when he slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars two weeks ago. Has he done permanent damage to his image and career, and what might happen next?
As the Oscars ended, Will Smith may have hoped he had nipped the fallout from his slap in the bud.
His tearful best actor acceptance speech, in which he apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees and tried to frame himself as a “defender of his family”, received a standing ovation.
He later made a show of posing and dancing with his best actor statuette at the after-show party in classic Big Willie style, as if nothing had happened. Or as if he was relieved to have ridden out the storm.
However, word broke that the two most high-profile Will Smith projects, Sony’s Bad Boys 4 and Netflix’s Fast and Loose, have been put on the proverbial backburner. So, are studios dropping one of Hollywood’s biggest stars? one who just won the Oscar for Best Actor (which, for better or worse, resulted in a standing ovation around 45 minutes after the incident), like a hot potato?