By now, you know about that moment at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony when Will Smith walked on the stage and slapped Chris Rock. Are you aware that on Saturday, President Biden said Vladimir Putin, “cannot remain in power?”
It’s not the President’s statement that is making news on this Monday. (Well, some.) It’s Will Smith’s slap seen ‘round the world.
In case you don’t know, Chris Rock was presenting the Oscar for best documentary. He told a joke about Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
From the Hollywood Reporter: Rock made a crack about Pinkett Smith getting ready to film a sequel to “G.I. Jane”—an apparent reference to the actress having a shaved head. (Pickett Smith has been open about her hair loss due to alopecia.)
Well, Will Smith walked up on the stage and slapped Chris Rock. It wasn’t a punch, it was a face slap.
Smith went back to his seat and yelled “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth..” Wow! Minutes later, he won the Oscar for best actor.
Will Smith apologized during his acceptance speech… to the academy… to his fellow nominees… not to Chris Rock.
It is what everyone is talking about today. It has knocked Joe Biden’s ad libbed comments on Saturday off the front page.
Speaking in Poland, the President said of Vladimir Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” It sure sounded like he was calling for his ouster.
President Biden’s aides quickly responded that he was not calling for a regime change in Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.”
Now, while most of us might agree that Putin needs to go, that off the cuff comment may not help the situation. French President Emmanuel Macron says that talk of a regime change will allow Vladimir Putin to claim U.S. interests go beyond just protecting Ukraine.
For his part, President Biden is even walking his statement back. As he left church in Washington yesterday, he was asked if he wants Putin removed from office. “No!” He said.
The war in Ukraine continues. President Zelensky spoke of another round of talks with Russia… and a possible concession. That would be declaring Ukraine a neutral country. There is also speculation that Putin may try to limit his ambitions to eastern Ukraine.
On this Monday morning though, the talk isn’t about Ukraine. It’s about what happened at the Oscars last night. Is that a good thing? Probably not.
This though, Im sure of. Joe Biden should thank Will Smith.