Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Actor Will Smith said Thursday he will join his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in boycotting next month’s Academy Awards because of “systematic bias.”
Their beef is that no black actors were nominated for the second year in a row by the Academy, which is headed by a black woman, Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
The actor, who is worth an estimated $250 million as a result of his career in Hollywood, appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to say he was “uncomfortable” with appearing.
“My wife’s not going. It would be awkward for me to show up with Charlize (Theron),” Smith said. “We’ve discussed it, but at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is OK.”
Robin with Will Smith in ABC News ExclusiveWATCH: “I think diversity is the American super-power. That’s why we are great.” – Will Smith opens up for the first time in an ABC News Exclusive about diversity in Hollywood and at The Academy Awards. #Oscars http://abcn.ws/1JZzyk8
Posted by Good Morning America on Thursday, January 21, 2016
Smith, who was not nominated for his role in the movie “Concussion,” said the decision was “deeply not about me.”
“This is about children that are going to sit down and they’re going to watch the show and they’re not going to see themselves represented,” he said.
It’s always about the children.
Smith has never won an Oscar, but has been nominated twice — in 2001 for “Ali” and 2006 for “The Pursuit of Happyness” — ironically, he lost both times to black actors, Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker.
But the actor said Hollywood was “going the wrong direction.”
“The nominations reflect the Academy. The Academy reflects the industry and then the industry reflects America,” Smith told ABC anchor Robin Roberts. “There is a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony and that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.”
“Fresh Prince of Bel Air” actress Janet Hubert isn’t buying it.
Hubert played Aunt Vivian in the 90s sitcom that launched Smith’s career and did not mince her words in attacking the Smiths.
“I’m a real freedom fighter,” she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview this week. “I’m not a pretend freedom fighter. I stand up for other actresses, other people. The Smiths just irked me because they are such pretenders, and everything is a photo op.”
She was critical of Jada Pinkett’s decision to shun the Oscars, before Will spoke out. “It’s just self-contrived because her hubby didn’t get a nomination,” Hubert said.
The interview followed a video Hubert posted on her Facebook page that was also critical of the Smiths.