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Opinion | No Joke: When Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars

To the Editor:

Re “Lots of Awards. One Nasty Slap” (Arts pages, March 28):

How is it that a role model for young adults can use aggressive violence on a world stage and still receive an award moments later? This action should not have been tolerated by the Academy. Will Smith should have been escorted out by security and stripped of the award.

An apology at this point means nothing.

Sharon Lintner
Columbia, Pa.

To the Editor:

Regarding the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock after Mr. Rock attempted to joke about the alopecia areata of Mr. Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, it is important to remember the seriousness of the hair-loss condition.

Alopecia areata affects about 6.8 million people in the United States. It is often accompanied by anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem and other emotional suffering.

The entertainment industry should avoid mocking patients suffering from it. But Mr. Smith’s unnecessary violence against Mr. Rock is not the solution to a devastating problem.

Douglas Altchek
New York
The writer is clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

To the Editor:

Imagine what this moment might have been if Will Smith had come forward after Chris Rock’s insensitive and rude remark and whispered in his ear and reminded him of his wife’s struggle with alopecia. And then Mr. Rock apologizes and invites Jada Pinkett Smith to come forward and to address all women struggling with this and other issues that tend to devalue them in the eyes of men.

Imagine what that moment might have done …

Dave Pasinski
Fayetteville, N.Y.

To the Editor:

At the root of the shenanigans is the expectation that hosts and award presenters fill the cracks in the proceedings with insults, innuendo and middle-school humor to keep viewers engaged.

Something bad was eventually going to happen.

Jim Holsapple
Londonderry, Vt.

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