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One of the producers behind Summer of Soul (Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), awarded the best documentary feature Oscar immediately in the aftermath of Will Smith’s onstage attack on Chris Rock, took to social media Wednesday not only to criticize Smith for his actions, but also Rock for a joke he made about the team when they won.
Summer of Soul’s director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and producers Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein had the unenviable task of walking to the stage to collect an award with the entire Dolby Theatre still reeling in shock from watching Smith rush the stage and assault Rock moments earlier.
On Wednesday evening, Patel took to Twitter to give his view of what happened in the immediate aftermath of the slap, explaining that he was “angry” not only with Smith for having “robbed” the entire category of its moment, but also with Rock for a flippant joke that described the producers, incorrectly, as “four white guys,” which he said erased his achievement.
Patel, who wrote that he was speaking “for me and me alone. Not Ahmir and not our co-producers,” began his Twitter thread detailing that he had been “drunk with joy” the last few days celebrating their Oscar win, and he took pains to thank everyone for their support and congratulations. He added that he was “still sort of processing” the incident between Smith and Rock.
“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 and started to read the nominees,” Patel wrote.
“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. And it robbed Summer of Soul and our team of our moment. Of a loud, enthusiastic cheer for a celebrated film,” Patel added.
Patel continued, “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.”
The producer writes that Thompson handled the moment with grace, but given everything that was going on, he didn’t hear what Rock was saying onstage.
“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 … four white guys.’ WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?????”
Chris Rock: And the winner is Ahmir Thompson and four white guys.
(Ahmir is black.) 🙄
Imagine the outrage if a white announcer said Joe Silverman and for black dudes. #ChrisRock #Oscars2022 pic.twitter.com/tVTSf1yIjI
— 8645 (@DistortedLoop) March 28, 2022
Patel went to explain his anger. “The reason that makes me SO SO VERY ANGRY is because 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. I was ecstatic that I was the third South Asian to win that night — after [Riz Ahmed] and Aneil Karia won earlier in the night for The Long Goodbye. Three South Asians winning on the same night — that’s never happened before! And it’s meaningful! It’s history!”
He added that Rock wasn’t even accurate to say Thompson and “four white guys” won, as the film has only three producers — Patel, Fyvolent and Dinerstein.
Patel added that he “can take a joke” but “not in that moment. … What a shitty, 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 onstage at the Roots Jam!”
The producer then wrote of his anger at the various players in the incident, adding that he was “angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow filmmakers.”
He concluded his thread by revealing he couldn’t face watching the ceremony again and “probably never will. … Thank you, Chris — you absolute fucking dick.
Said Patel: “What both Will AND Chris did really stained what should have been a beautiful moment for us.”
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