Report: Will Smith’s Oscars Slap Generates More Than 60 FCC Complaints

The fallout continues from Sunday’s Oscars incident involving actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock.

Smith’s on-stage slap of Rock before a live TV audience of millions worldwide, and subsequent profanity-laced tirade after sitting down, generated 66 complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, according to a report from The Hill.

Citing The Hill’s reporting, through a Freedom of Information Act request, audience members were nearly unanimous in denouncing Smith’s conduct in the altercation with Rock.

Characterizations such as “inappropriate” and “reprehensible” were reportedly common in the FCC complaints. 

One anonymous TV viewer even claimed to have been “traumatized” by the altercation, which had been heavily edited on live American television, but was shown in its entirety in markets abroad, such as Japan.

The clips from the Japanese feed quickly found their way to Twitter, long before the Oscars telecast had concluded Sunday night.

“I haven’t been able to sleep as a result. My child was also scared. I had to take medicine to calm me down,” said an Illinois viewer cited in The Hill report. “I think the Oscars were not child-friendly and shouldn’t be allowed on TV, if they are going to have violent assaults LIVE.”

Sunday’s altercation, which preceded Smith capturing Best Actor honors for his work in “King Richard,” had a seemingly innocuous start.

Rock made a cameo appearance as an award presenter, but used his stage time to craft a few jokes at the celebrities in the audience. That included teasing actress Jada Pinkett Smith — Will Smith’s wife.

Will Smith, who was initially laughing at Rock’s biting humor, then angrily took the stage and struck the comedian with an open-hand slap. At first, the audience treated the exchange like a good-natured incident, or perhaps a staged encounter.

But things got uncomfortable quickly when Will Smith yelled at Rock twice, saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—— mouth!”

According to The Hill, the majority of FCC complaints demanded some form of penalty for Smith, ranging from taking away his Best Actor award, banning him from future Oscars, or being arrested.

On Wednesday, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it has begun disciplinary proceedings against Smith for “violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct.”

The Hill reports that one angry TV viewer drew a comparison between the Smith-Rock altercation and the Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” incident during the Super Bowl 38 broadcast.

During the halftime show, while performing on stage, Timberlake inadvertently exposed Jackson’s breast on live TV, an incident which reportedly collected more than 540,000 FCC complaints

“(The FCC goes) after Janet Jackson when Justin Timberlake ripped off her clothes and basically assaulted her on live TV, as well. And she was the victim in that case,” the anonymous viewer wrote.

The viewer then added, “This whole (Smith-Rock) episode has me so shaken and ruined the Oscars, and the very deserving winners, due to your allowing this malicious activity on public airwaves.”

Will Smith apologized to the Academy during his Best Actor acceptance speech on Sunday. The next day, Smith apologized to Chris Rock, saying he was “out of line.”

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