Hollywood is actually implementing a repercussion for bad behavior, even if it is due to public outrage leaving them with very little choice. Will Smith has been banned from attending the Academy Awards ceremony for ten years as punishment for slapping comedian Chris Rock.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences made the announcement Friday, following the slap nearly two weeks ago during the Oscars awards ceremony. Smith won the Oscar for his performance in King Richard, shortly after his outburst against Rock.
When Smith took stage to accept the award, he apologized to the Academy, though not to Rock. Even more disgusting, the entire crowd gave him a standing ovation. After the slap sparked public outrage, the Academy was pressured to act.
Nearly two weeks later, the Academy’s Board of Governors met on Friday to vote on a course of action. The Oscars were “overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.
“The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years, from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.”
Will Smith reacted to a joke Rock had made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who said “Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Smith then walked up on stage and slapped Rock across the face. Once he got back to his seat, Smith shouted at Rock twice, telling him to keep “my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.”
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WSJ: Corporate Dirty Pool in Washington’s Senate Race
The Wall Street Journal’s, Kimberly A. Strassel wrote a piece identifying how the Democrats are so worried about Washington Senator Patty Murray’s re-election “that Seattle’s corporate heavyweights are playing dirty pool on her behalf.”
Murray, a leftwing progressive, has faced little competition while in office; until now. Tiffany Smiley, a Republican nurse and entrepreneur “is pummeling Ms. Murray from every direction and laying out her own detailed reform agenda” adds the WSJ.
A RealClearPolitics average has Ms. Murray winning by 8 points. Another poll has Smiley within 2 points. Regardless, It’s close enough that “Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently transferred $500,000 of his own campaign cash to Ms. Murray’s campaign.”
Money from Schumer isn’t the only liberal panic dough. “Starbucks, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Seahawks—are actively attempting to sabotage the Smiley campaign, albeit in a distinctly underhanded fashion” writes the WSJ. “Their targets are two effective Smiley campaign ads.”
At the center of the fight are two of Smiley’s ads: “Game Day” and “Cup of Coffee.”
In “Game Day” the Republican is in a kitchen preparing to watch a football game, hitting Ms. Murray and Democrats for the spiraling cost of food. In “Cup of Coffee,” she stands in front of a derelict building. Barely visible at the top, and seen backward, is the store’s faded Starbucks sign. Ms. Smiley hits Ms. Murray for rising crime, while the ad flashes two Seattle Times headlines, one of which reads: “Starbucks to Close 5 Seattle Stores Over Safety Concerns.”
“Game Day” hit the airwaves Sept 1. Five days later, according to documents I obtained, the Smiley campaign received a terse email from the Seahawks claiming a trademark violation. The ad briefly shows Ms. Smiley’s husband, Scotty—a retired U.S. Army Ranger who was blinded by shrapnel in Iraq—expressing alarm that “even beer” prices are rising. You only see his shoulders above a tall couch—and if you get a magnifying glass you might make out a letter or two from the word “Seahawks.” The letter insisted the Smiley campaign “immediately cease” its “unauthorized commercial use.” Nothing like your local sports franchise dumping cease-and-desist orders on wounded veterans.
“Cup of Coffee” went live on Sept. 20. The next day, the Seattle Times sent an email to the “Jane Smiley” campaign—apparently without running it past its fact-checking desk—accusing it of “unauthorized use of The Seattle Times logo and two headlines” in violation of the paper’s “copyright and trademark.” It demanded the campaign remove any references to the paper not only in its own ad, but in an NBC News article about the ad’s launch.
Two days later, Starbucks sent a certified letter saying the campaign was appropriating its intellectual property, and complaining it might “create an unfounded association in the minds of consumers between Starbucks and your campaign.” It insisted the campaign either pull the ad or alter it to strip both the (barely visible, backward) sign and the Seattle Times headline referencing Starbucks.
One such letter may be the product of an overzealous lawyer, but three in a row looks like more than a coincidence. One might even wonder if some Murray staffer was putting bugs in Seattle business leaders’ ears. And while corporate political-action committees routinely play politics by making donations, it’s something else for individual companies to go to bat for a candidate via behind-the-scenes threats based on tenuous legal claims. These letters were bound to cost the Smiley campaign money and headaches and might have pushed it off the airwaves.
The campaign didn’t roll over. It made a painless accommodation to the “Game Day” ad, blurring the jersey colors to obscure anything distinct. In a legal letter sent Thursday to Starbucks, the campaign rebutted the company’s infringement claims, running through political speech protections and noting that no reasonable person would ever think a factual ad about shuttered Starbucks stores amounted to a coffee-chain endorsement. It suggested Starbucks focus on its own problems, like its recent union woes.
The Seattle Times also received a letter refuting its claims, but it got something in addition. The Smiley campaign on Thursday filed a Federal Election Commission complaint, charging the paper with providing the Murray campaign a prohibited in-kind contribution. It turns out that Ms. Murray has also used a Seattle Times headline in her ads. Her “First 2016 Ad” sports the newspaper’s logo under the headline: “Patty Murray’s and Paul Ryan’s Teamwork Is a Model for Congress.” It seems the Times has a different legal standard for candidates it endorses.
As the FEC complaint notes, the Smiley campaign would have to spend an estimated $5,000 to remove and update the ad—“costs that Patty Murray does not have to accrue.” It cites FEC regulations that provide “if a corporation makes its resources available for free, it must do so for all candidates.”
Don’t expect the Seattle corporate set to do anything on behalf of Ms. Smiley soon. But it shouldn’t be too much to ask that they do their politicking straight—and out in the open.
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