Will Smith's talent agency CAA divided over decision to DROP actor for Oscars 'Slapgate'

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) executives reportedly had a debate during their leadership retreat about whether they should continue to represent Will Smith


                            Will Smith's talent agency CAA divided over decision to DROP actor for Oscars 'Slapgate'
Two of Smith's upcoming films have also both been put on hold after the Oscars 2022 incident (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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Top bosses and executives at Will Smith's talent agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), are divided about what to do after the shocking slapping incident at the 2022 Oscars. The 53-year-old Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith's bald head.

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Pinkett had previously revealed her struggle with alopecia, a disease that causes bald spots. The incident immediately started trending and has continued to make headlines even a week after it happened. As per reports, a long debate took place within the talent agency over whether Smith should be dropped. Around 100 agents left for the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes last week for CAA's first leadership retreat after the pandemic. The controversial discussion around whether or not to retain Smith continued over the conference retreat.

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As per The Daily Beast, Bryan Lourd felt that they should drop Smith. Richard Lovett, who personally represents Smith, was "frazzled" throughout, but wanted to keep the actor onboard. The agency has reportedly decided to retain Smith for now. "There is no truth to any of it. Simply never happened," a spokesperson for CAA told the news portal when asked about the discussions about Will Smith's future with the agency.

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The agency was previously associated with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, drawing a lot of flak and criticism for the same. Thanks to conspiracy theories, memes and soundbytes from other celebs, the incident continues to dominate social media platforms. Netizens refuse to stop talking about it even though Smith has issued an apology to Rock through his Instagram after massive public outrage over the incident.

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The apology read, "Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will."

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Smith has also resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The statement, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on April 1, said, "My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film."

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Meanwhile, Smith's upcoming films, 'Fast and Loose' and 'Bad Boys 4' have both been put on hold. 'Fast and Loose' was the story of a crime boss who loses his memory after an attack, but later discovers that he has led a double identity as a wealthy kingpin and a broke CIA agent. After the 'Slapgate' incident, Netflix decided to put the film on hold. On the other hand, 'Bad Boys 4' had been in active development at Sony but has now been paused. Smith had received 40 pages of the script prior to the Oscars, as per sources.

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