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Let’s get this straight: There is no excuse for assaulting someone because you don’t like a joke they told, no matter how lame. Because if that’s okay, then what’s the line in the sand? If the joke is sexist or racist is it okay to shoot the other person? Can you burn their house down? Where does it end?

Chris Rock made what I think is an unfortunate joke about Will Smith’s wife, who suffers from a disease, alopecia, which I don’t think is a laughing matter. However, Smith’s subsequently behavior—marching onto the stage in front of a viewing audience reported at 15 million to slap Rock— and his subsequent incoherent acceptance speech when he won the “best actor” Oscar, is more disturbing than anything Chris Rock said.

It seems to me either Will Smith was on coke or drunk or had some impairment, or he was overcompensating for some transgression with his wife, or he was having an emotional and mental breakdown. He’s a mediocre talent is an age when you can’t recognize half the “celebrities” in these audiences any more, and he has a bad case of Hollywood Privilege: He’s not like you and me, he can do whatever the hell he wants to do because he’s in the movies!

Well, this ain’t the 1950s and the glory days of MGM. Will Smith ought to have the Oscar taken away and his insurance company ought to demand higher premiums for his next picture. If there are no consequences, what happens next time he hears a comment that he doesn’t like? If you’re around at that time and nearby, I suggest you duck.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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