A dent in the pedestal

Damn Will, why did you have to go and slap Chris Rock?

I’ve been a fan of Will Smith for three decades. He’s probably my all time favorite actor/entertainer/storyteller. Some of his movies are absolute classics, that I can watch over and over again. Bad Boys. Independence Day. Aladdin (yes, I loved Aladdin!). And his book Will is just as good as his best work on the screen. But yesterday he made a bad call. It turns out that this person who I put on a pedestal is only human.

Is it possible to feel empathy for someone, but also think they made a bad decision? To be excited for them and disappointed with them at the same time? Can I admire someone and think they’re an idiot too?

I ask myself this, because I admire almost everything about Will Smith. His talent, his creativity, his discipline, his work ethic, his commitment, his humor, his charm, his looks, his storytelling skills, his entrepreneurship, his profitability, his candor, his art. His working his ass off for years and finally being rewarded with the highest award in his profession. And yes, I also admire the fact that he stood up for his wife when someone disrespected her.

What I don’t admire so much, is how he chose to act upon it. I’d be pissed too, if someone made fun of my girlfriend in public. I can imagine I would also feel the urge to slap that person. And if you read his autobiography, you would know there is a deeper story to his behavior. But hitting another person is not okay. It almost never is. Especially for a talented creative person like Will Smith, he could have handled it very differently. But I guess only Will Smith can make the same event both the highpoint and the lowpoint of his career.

Am I less of a fan now? Should I “cancel” Will Smith? Should I feel bad for still liking him? Hell no. I don’t want to cancel him and I won’t. I will watch King Richard on HBO Max. I will watch his documentaries on National Geographic. I will keep watching his movies, read his books, listen to his music, follow him on Instagram. I won’t let one slap, for which he showed regret, wipe out his legacy of 30 years.

I’m still his fan and if that offends you, I apologize.

I just hope Will also apologizes, to Chris.

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