Mean Betty: Should Will Smith Have Slapped That Kissy-Faced Reporter?
Will Smith slapped a reporter who tried to kiss him at a Men In Black 3 event last week. Should he have? Mean Betty investigates!
Throughout Mean Betty’s many years as an observer of human behavior and a commentator on celebrity foibles, Meanie has seen many a badly-behaved star act out, mouth off, and otherwise make fools of themselves in unfortunately public places. There are some celebrities of whom this sort of ridiculousness is to be expected: Taylor Momsen, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, any of the Real Housewives of Wherever, and so on. There are others, however, whom we would never in a million years think would have a tantrum on the job—so when they do, it gives us a moment’s pause.
Take, for example, a recent incident involving Mr. Will Smith. Perhaps unexpectedly, that most venerable of gossip sources, TMZ, broke the news first: Last week at the Moscow premiere of Men In Black 3, a Ukranian reporter surprised dear Will attempting to kiss the actor full across the lips on the red carpet. And what was Will’s reaction? He pushed the reporter away before giving him a backhanded slap across the face. Gasp! Will Smith using physical violence on the red carpet of all places? Surely not!
But yes, he did. Was the slap undeserved? Did it demonstrate an intolerance of non-American customs? Did it even—heavens, no!—illustrate homophobia? Allow Meanie to dig a little further into the incident.
Mr. Smith is many things. He is an actor of note. He is a rapper. He is a loving husband and a doting father. Most importantly, though, he is rather a gentleman, even in the face of mean-spirited rumors attacking the solidity of his marriage. At worst, he might be accused of allowing his children a little too much of a free reign over the entertainment industry; given, however, that little Jayden and Willow are for the most part well-behaved in spite of their unconventional upbringing, even this accusation is mild compared to those earned by many other showbiz parents (cough, cough, Kris Jenner, cough cough). It is for this reason—that Will Smith is fundamentally, as it were, a good guy—lthat Meanie refuses to believe that dear Will’s response was a demonstration of intolerance of any sort. Let’s be realistic, kittens: It was a knee-jerk reaction and nothing more.
Kittens, Meanie would like to ask you a question: How would you react to a stranger coming at you out of nowhere and attempting not-so-subtly to jam his or her tongue in your mouth? Meanie’s guess is that it wouldn’t be too far from Will’s response. Meanie’s certainly wouldn’t have been; indeed, she might even have done more than simply slap the offending individual. Mr. Smith may have told his handlers, “He’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him,” but Meanie makes no such promises.
And of course, there is something to be said for context, as well; for you see, kittens, it turns out that the reporter in question is well-known for his provocation tactics. Vitalii Seduik seems to be a sort of television journalist version of Sacha Baron Cohen: Someone who relies on his stunts to get his juicy headlines. As evinced by the subsequent uproar caused by the incident, Seduik’s stunts get results—though his ethics may be somewhat questionable. It strikes Meanie as not quite right to create your own headlines by setting up fabricated stunts; it lacks both honesty and honor. So much for journalistic integrity, eh, kittens?
Does Meanie condone violence? Of course not, but Meanie also thinks that Vitalii Seduik should rethink his methods. If Punking people is your thing, feel free to call up Ashton Kutcher, but don’t try to pass it off as journalism. Even entertainment journalism shouldn’t stoop THAT low!
Oh, and for the record, dear Will has also recently come out in support of gay marriage. Homophobic? Meanie thinks not!