In the midst of the fervor surrounding the incident at the 94th Academy Awards in which legendary actor and Oscar winner Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after the latter made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, the award for Best Documentary Feature and its respective recipients got lost in translation.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Oscar-winning Summer of Soul producer Joseph Patel called out Will Smith and Chris Rock for their antics on stage. TheWrap reported on his tweets as his account is now locked.
He called Rock an “absolute f*****g d**k,” for announcing the production team as Questlove “and 4 white guys.” As TheWrap reports, “Patel cited both the disrespect shown by not reading the Oscar winners’ names, as well as the fact that he, himself is of South Asian descent. He also noted that the film had 3 producers, not 4.”
“First, I’ve been drunk with joy the last few days for me and my team and our Oscar win. So many of you – IRL friends, internet friends, acquaintances, colleagues, old homies and new – have shown love and support and genuine excitement for our achievement,” Patel said.
The award for Best Documentary Feature went to Questlove, Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein for their work on the acclaimed doc Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). Like pretty much everyone watching, Patel revealed in his thread how he was unsure if the debacle between Smith and Rock was real or staged.
“It’s taken me a few days to process everything,” he continued. “Still sort of processing it. Once we realized the Chris Rock/Will Smith interaction wasn’t a bit, everything got turned upside down. Everyone was still trying to make sense of it when Chris persevered & started to read the nominees.”
Patel also took Will Smith to task for his decision to march onstage and slap Chris Rock.
“I think what Will did was selfish. It robbed the category of its moment. It robbed the other excellent and amazing films of their moment to be acknowledged in what was a STRONG year for docs“ he said. “And it robbed Summer of Soul and our team of our moment. Of a loud, enthusiastic cheer for a celebrated film. I feel bad for Ahmir. I feel bad for my fellow producers. I feel bad for our whole team. I feel bad for all the people watching and rooting for us. We were in shock walking to the stage -not because of winning but because we, too, were still trying to make sense of what happened. Then Will hugs Ahmir and daps me up. I didn’t even know it was happening in the moment. Still in shock. (Ahmir handled the moment with grace, giving a speech from the heart. It was beautiful to see. I’m so deeply moved by how much he has grown in the last few years.).”
He continued, in the series of tweets:
“What I didn’t hear in that moment walking to stage but was told of afterwards is what Chris Rock said when reading our name from the winner’s card – The winner is ‘Summer of Soul…Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson and…4 white guys.’ WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F—????? I was so proud to be one of a handful of South Asians to have ever won an Oscar in the history of the award,’ and one of 3 South Asian Oscar winners that night. ‘That’s never happened before! And it’s meaningful! It’s history! So with my family and friends watching, Chris Rock lumped me in as 1 of ‘4 white guys’ (Nevermind the disrespect to @d2films and @fyvo for not even saying their names, and the inaccuracy of us being 3 producers not 4). I’m a big boy – I can take a joke. Comedians make jokes. But not in that moment. What a s—-y, disrespectful thing to do. AND HERE’S THE THING…It wasn’t that Chris Rock was under stress. He made the same joke the night before on stage at the Roots Jam!’
Patel concluded by saying, he's "angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow filmmakers."
He said he will probably never watch the ceremony: “I probably never will. Thank you, Chris – You absolute f*****g d**k…what happened with the ceremony and the achievement of winning an Oscar will separate over time. And truly, like I said earlier, I’m living in a place of absolute joy over what we did…what both Will AND Chris did really stained what should have been a beautiful moment for us.”