Will Smith Created 'Existential Crisis' for the Academy, Should Return His Oscar, Actor Says

© REUTERS / BRIAN SNYDERWill Smith (R) hits Chris Rock as Rock spoke on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2022
Will Smith (R) hits Chris Rock as Rock spoke on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.04.2022
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Lennix argued that Smith needs to “come to grips with the gravity of the offense he committed”.
Will Smith has been banned from all Academy events for 10 years over his altercation with Chris Rock at the Academy Awards last month. However, notable American actor Harry Lennix has described this punishment as a "toothless penalty" and "little more than an extended time out for a playground bully".
Sharing his thoughts in an op-ed published in Variety, Lennix insisted that Smith needs to “come to grips with the gravity of the offence he committed” and return his Oscar.
"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 honour conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian’," he argued.
Lennix also did not seem thrilled by Smith making a reference to a "higher power" during his acceptance speech at the ceremony, when the latter said: "In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world."
"This attempt to explain his actions added to the travesty of this ethical catastrophe," Lennix wrote. "In couching his acceptance speech as somehow submitting to the will of God, Smith abdicated personal accountability."
Will Smith, Lennix suggested, essentially "created an existential crisis for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences" with but "one deft blow", with the incident in question being "such a jolt to societal norms that it will gnaw away at our national conscience until somehow properly atoned for".
FILE PHOTO: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith pose on the red carpet during the Oscars arrivals at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.04.2022
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