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South Florida comedians worry Will Smith, Chris Rock incident will influence others

Comedians concerned others will think it's OK to behave in similar manner
Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 21:49:55-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — South Florida comedians are sharing their thoughts about the altercation between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock during Sunday night’s Oscars.

Smith smacked Rock moments after the comedian told a joke about Smith’s wife who suffers from Alopecia and hair loss.

Comedian Jordan Garnett, who is a regular performer at the Improv at the Square, said that type of incident could be a smack on their art.

"That is ruining comedy, and everybody is so soft now. You can’t even make a joke," said Garnett. "Now, it gives everybody the right, they see Will Smith do it to Chris. Now anybody that goes to a comedy show, if I am offended, they think they can go up on stage and smack somebody, too."

Brian Drolet, another comedian and actor, told WPTV he doesn't agree with making fun of somebody's wife, especially if they have a medical condition. Drolet hopes Smith will make amends for what he did.

"There are consequences for what you say. But violence should never be the action people take," said Drolet. "He could have said, 'You know, you have to apologize for my wife right now.' He could have done a million other things other than smack the guy. So, unfortunately, I do think it's going to influence people, and I hope Will kind of recognizes that and speaks out against being violent."

Smith later apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his best actor acceptance speech for "King Richard.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said Chris Rock declined to file a police report Sunday night.

"Any average Joe, you're kicked out and you're arrested," said Garnett. "Pull that at the Improv, you're going to jail."

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said it condemns the actions of Will Smith during Sunday night's Oscars and it will launch a formal review.

In a statement Monday, the Academy said it will also "explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."

The academy did not name Smith in a statement Sunday night after the confrontation.