Billy Porter is weighing in on the headline-grabbing Oscars slap, and what he felt it represented about the societal perception of masculinity.
ET’s Kevin Frazier spoke with Porter at the grand opening of the Shonda Rhimes Performing Arts Center, home of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, in Los Angeles on Saturday, and he shared his take on the incident and its aftermath.
Will Smith’s actions at the 2022 Oscars have been at the forefront of public discourse since the moment he took the stage to hit Chris Rock during the live show. Now, less than two weeks later, Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, and Porter says it’s tough to really address the altercation.
“It’s a really rough one for me, you know, because I don’t know that I have the authority to speak on it. But as a Black, queer man who has been dragged through the mud — for not being masculine enough in this world or for being the cause of the emasculation of the black man because I decided to play with feminine silhouette in my clothing — it’s really disheartening that version of masculinity shows up like that.”
Porter said the incident was “upsetting” for him, but also encouraged him to keep staying true to himself.
“I will be the Black queen that I am, because if that is the representation of what masculinity is supposed to be, I don’t need it,” Porter added.
The decision to ban Smith from future Academy events was announced on Friday.
In a letter addressed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences family, and obtained by ET, Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said the Board of Governors in a Friday meeting concluded that “for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events” including the Academy Awards.
The letter also expressed “deep gratitude” to Rock for “maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances.”
In a brief statement to ET, Smith responded to the board’s conclusion saying, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
Rubin and Hudson said that the action taken in response to Smith’s behavior “is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.”
Source: ET Online