Steve Coogan has accused Will Smith of “appalling arrogance” after the actor beat Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Smith took the stage to slap Rock, who was presenting an award at the film awards ceremony after the comedian made a joke about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
On Friday (April 1), five days after the incident, Smith made the decision to resign from the academy after reportedly facing disciplinary action. The decision stripped him of his membership of the Academy Awards panel.
Coogan became the latest celebrity to speak out about the altercation when asked about it during a recent BBC radio appearance Loose ends Program.
Asked for his opinion on the incident that Alan Partridge star said: “First of all, Hollywood was at its absolute worst. With all the moral posturing that Hollywood has… I think all Hollywood moral posturings are always commercial choices, and when they’re moral they’re disguised as moral, but they’re always bottom line choices.”
He went on to say he’s “with Rob Reiner and Jim Carrey on this issue,” adding that “I think whether Chris Rock wants to press charges should be academic.”
Producer, actor and director Reiner previously said that Smith “owes Chris Rock a huge apology,” stating that “there is no apology for what he did.”
After the on-stage incident, Carrey said Smith “should have been arrested” for his actions and that he had sued the actor for $200m (£153m).
the Ace Ventura Star later said he saw Smith’s behavior as “a bigger problem.”
As host Clive Anderson said: “Nothing prevents the police from making arrests [Smith] there and then,” interjected Coogan to say, “There are over a thousand witnesses, they would have no problem getting a conviction.”
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Referring to Smith’s behavior, he added: “I think it’s appalling arrogance. The epitome of everything twisted and horrible about Hollywood.
“However, frankly, you either believe in freedom of speech or you don’t. we have rules You can’t sort of walk up to someone and be racist in their face. You can’t hide behind freedom of expression.
“We have ways to curb offensive behavior. But freedom of expression must be protected at all costs.”
When asked if he experienced anything similar to what Rock did at the Oscars, Coogan opened up about his past stand-up gigs at The Tunnel Club, which he called “a baptism of fire.”
“It was almost a right of initiation when you were on the comedy circuit,” he said. The comedian recalled hearing “abuse” and “horrific profanity.”
He said: “You didn’t have your glasses anymore. They had plastic because there were so many being thrown on stage and I was thrown at various plastic objects and a chair when trying to do nuanced stuff.
Elsewhere on the radio show, Coogan said he often used his character Alan Partridge as a “Trojan horse” to express some of his own views.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/steve-coogan-will-smith-chris-rock-oscars-b2050749.html Steve Coogan accuses Will Smith of ‘appalling arrogance’ for slapping him for the Oscars