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Friday, May 27, 2022

Opinion

Hollywood needs to hold abusers accountable


Hollywood needs to hold abusers accountable

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

After the infamous slap at the recent Academy Awards, Will Smith is now banned from the awards ceremonies for 10 years. While this may be understandable to some, Hollywood and the film industry should focus on shunning predators and abusers, rather than men defending their wives.

The shock over Smith slapping Chris Rock led to a bunch of discourse on how it should be handled. Many were saying that Smith was in the right for slapping Rock since Rock was making fun of Jada Pinkett Smith. Some were saying that Smith shouldn’t have used violence to do so. 

Some think that Smith needs to be punished and that’s exactly what is happening. Not only has he been banned from the Academy Awards, but Netflix canceled his upcoming project “Bright 2.” 

A lot of celebrities have been criticizing Smith and it’s understandable. One may not have liked Rock’s jokes about his wife being bald or thought they were inappropriate, which they were considering she has alopecia. 

That said, many don’t like violence and didn’t think Smith handled it well. However, it’s strange to see the uproar against Smith when Hollywood has a lot of other questionable characters, yet rarely holds them accountable. 

Mark Wahlberg is an American actor who has consistently been working in the industry despite having a history of racist hate crimes. In the 1980s, teenage Wahlberg committed racially motivated violence multiple times and even served some jail time. 

In one instance, he chased after Black children, threw rocks at them, threatened to kill them and yelled racial slurs. The next day, he did roughly the same thing again to a different set of Black children. 

He also physically attacked two Vietnamese men and called them racial pejoratives while high on PCP. He only served 45 days in prison for this attack.

Some may say that this was a long time ago and he was so young, but it is not normal at all for a teenager to have committed any hate crimes, let alone three. Yet, Wahlberg still consistently gets work despite having a very violent and racist history. 

Roman Polanski is another person who should have been shunned long ago. Polanski is known for directing movies like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” but is also known for raping a 13-year-old girl in the late 1970s. 

He left the U.S. to avoid prison time but that didn’t stop him from continuing to win American film awards from abroad. It wasn’t until 2018, over 40 years later since he was charged, that the academy kicked him out. 

The academy took four decades to kick a well-known child molester. This isn’t surprising as Harvey Weinstein was known for his harmful sexual behavior in Hollywood for years before he was arrested. A long list of Hollywood stars like Ben Affleck and Quintin Tarantino allegedly knew about his behavior and yet nothing was done about it. 

It’s worth mentioning that all these men mentioned are white and weren’t held accountable until the very end. And yet, Smith had action taken against him despite not having a history of abuse.

Hollywood was very quick to punish Will Smith after the slap but is very slow to shun people with racist, violent and predatory pasts. It’s time for the film industry to hold actual dangerous people accountable.

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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