Hollywood bigwig Jeffrey Katzenberg compares Will Smith’s Oscar slap to violence of Ukraine war in clearest sign yet that actor’s career may be over
- Former Disney Studios head Jeffrey Katzenberg hit out at Will Smith’s Oscar slap
- Speaking to a crowd of 700 Tinseltown bigwigs, he compared it to Ukraine war
- An executive claimed the comments show Smith’s acting career may be over
One of Hollywood’s most powerful men last night publicly admonished the actor Will Smith for his infamous ‘Oscars slap’ sending the clearest signal yet that the disgraced superstar’s career could be over.
Speaking at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s national tribute dinner, Jeffrey Katzenberg – former head of Walt Disney Studios and the founder of DreamWorks Studios – told a crowd of 700 Tinseltown heavyweights: ‘Unfortunately intolerance continues to be on the rise no matter where we look.
‘We see it vividly on display whether it be far off on the battlefields of Ukraine or right here in Hollywood on the stage of the Dolby Theatre (home of the Oscars).’
An enraged Smith screamed ‘keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth’. It later emerged Jada suffers from the hair loss condition alopecia.
Smith, who won the Best Actor Oscar moments after his outburst for ‘King Richard’, was later banned from the Oscars for ten years and several of his film projects have been delayed or cancelled as his career hangs in the balance.
Last night an executive with a major Hollywood studio told MailOnline: ‘Jeffrey Katzenberg is one of the most powerful and revered men in Hollywood. For him to publicly condemn Will Smith at such a prestigious event is a big deal. It means Hollywood isn’t ready to forgive or forget. It definitely sends the signal that Smith’s career is on life-support.’
Men In Black star Smith stormed onto the stage at the Dolby during last month’s Oscars ceremony and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair
Speaking at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s national tribute dinner, Jeffrey Katzenberg – former head of Walt Disney Studios and the founder of DreamWorks Studios condemned the slap
A smiling Smith was photographed last weekend in India where he is believed to be staying at an ashram run by a spiritual guru who teaches ‘self-transformation.’
Thursday night’s gala – the first major Hollywood event since the Oscars – was attended by a host of stars including James Corden, Will.i.Am, LL Cool J and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and virtually every Hollywood studio head.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is named after the famous Nazi hunter and is one of the most revered and prestigious human rights organizations in the world. Co-chairs of the event included Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, producers Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code) and JJ Abrams (who directed the last three Star Wars movies.)
A source said: ‘The Wiesenthal event is attended by those who hold the power in Hollywood; studio bosses, producers, all the big agents. The feeling in the room was very much that Smith’s career won’t recover.’
The gala raised $3.7 million for the Museum of Tolerance which commemorates victims of the Holocaust.
Ukrainian President Zelensky was awarded the Center’s Medal of Freedom.
Apple’s senior vice president of services Eddy Cue was given the organization’s highest honor, the Humanitarian Award.
Late-night talk show host James Corden, who was master of ceremonies, joked about being picked to host the event saying: ‘Of course it makes sense for me to be here because it’s almost impossible to find a Jewish comedian in Hollywood. Naturally one of the world’s most prominent Jewish organizations has turned to me, a lapsed Protestant from High Wycombe.’
Eddy Cue and Jeffrey Katzenberg attend the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance 2022 National Tribute Dinner
Katzenberg told a crowd of 700 Tinseltown heavyweights: ‘Unfortunately intolerance continues to be on the rise no matter where we look
He also took a jibe at Smith saying: ‘Everyone is so happy that we are back being able to meet in person together again – except maybe Chris Rock.’
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and CEO of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), said if Wiesenthal, who survived concentration camps and devoted his life to tracking down Nazis, was alive today (he died in 2005) ‘He would be shocked that England, the country that led the charge against Hitler, just released findings that at least three anti-Semitic crimes are committed in the country every single day, forcing Jewish-owned bakeries and restaurants to close their stores on Holocaust Memorial Day for fear of being targeted.
As Winston Churchill reminded us: ‘Strength is granted to us when we are needed to serve great causes. This is such a time. Let us act!’