- Will Smith punched Chris Rock in middle of Academy Awards on Sunday.
- Although Smith’s profanity was removed from the broadcast, multiple complaints were received by the FCC about the slap.
- Within three days, many people filed complaints about the broadcast to the FCC.
Many Americans used social media to voice their opinions on Will Smith’s slap on Chris Rock at Academy Awards.
However, a small group of Americans went further than that and complained directly to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Oscars moment.
Some were furious at the violence shown on national television. Others lament the profanity broadcast to millions of homes. Other viewers had more specific complaints about the handling of the insults.
Insider obtained the complaints by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request on Monday.
Many readers expressed their disgust at the inclusion of violence in an event that is usually a peaceful celebration for the year’s finest films.
“I was floored when I saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock,”One complainant, hailing from Detroit, Michigan tried to get the landing on Helen Lovejoy impression. “Violence is never the answer. What about the children?
For many of the complainants, the issue was not the violence so much as the profanity. Though the words were muted on the broadcast, eagle-eyed lip readers easily sussed out what Smith shouted.
“Will Smith said, “Fuck live on-air during the Oscars.”” was the full extent of one complaint about the ceremony from a viewer in Terrell, Texas.
“The show featured a violent assault on the air, but the network failed to censor the vulgar rant that followed. It explicitly included the four-letter acronym “F””word,” wrote a Boerne, Texas reader.
Texans are not the only ones concerned about profanity.
“I was shocked by the swearing and violence displayed by Will Smith at the Academy Awards on March 27th,”Milford, Connecticut, another shocked viewer sent the following: Clarifying their fury, they added “You can clearly see him saying ‘Fucking.’ “
Chris Rock wins
Rock had many defenders among FCC complainers.
“Chris Rock was joking and I did not find the specific joke about Will’s wife distasteful,”A viewer from East Point, Georgia said so. “Additionally, Will Smith’s profanity at the Oscars was also shameful.”
A Frederick resident complained that ABC pulled the live captioning of the event from their television. They claimed this was not the cause of her aggravation. They were disappointed that they had missed out.
“I had to wait until the next day to find out what was said during that portion of the Oscars, from the news articles,”The viewer wrote.
Who is to blame?
There wasn’t consensus among complaints over who was responsible for airing content they considered offensive.
Smith is most responsible, but other observers saw systemic problems.
Some blamed ABC and its parent company Disney.
“Disney/ABC is to blame, those cameras were still allowed this to air,”A Missouri complainant said so.
Los Angeles viewer, one, suggested that the Oscars should be held responsible.
“The FCC should ban the Oscars from every airing again the save the American people from having to watch the terrible, terrible garbage. Please arrest them immediately,”They claimed they didn’t know that the FCC doesn’t have the power or authority to arrest producers for staging a disappointing show.
The LA complainant had another — though likely off-topic proposals — for the Federal Communications Commission, adding “Also, please arrest Rob Reiner for bad TV.”
Rob Reiner was not involved in the Oscars Telecast. It’s unclear what Rob Reiner did that earned the ire of the complainant.