Deaf actress Lauren Ridloff is speaking out about the 2022 Oscars ceremony.
On one hand, the Deaf community scored a big win for representation in the entertainment industry. On the other hand, the night was overshadowed by violence that is still making headlines.
Lauren Ridloff Celebrates ‘CODA’ Win While Lamenting The Slap Seen Around The World
For the Deaf community, the 2022 Oscars should have been a cause for celebration. “CODA” picked up all three of its nominations: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Supporting Actor. This made Troy Kotsur the first Deaf male actor and the second Deaf actor to win an Oscar after “CODA” costar Marlee Matlin won for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987.
Ridloff took to Instagram to congratulate the “CODA” cast on their big win. “Deaf people won, folks,” she wrote. “What. A. Victory. Big big congratulations to the talented cast and creatives behind the film.”
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While this can be seen as a win for Deaf actors everywhere, the night was overshadowed by Will Smith and Chris Rock. After Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss – which is caused by an auto-immune disease called alopecia – Smith lost his cool, walked on stage, and slapped Rock.
Many celebrities took to social media to give their own take on the incident, including “The Walking Dead” star.
Lauren Ridloff Says ‘Both Verbal And Physical’ Violence Happened At The Oscars
Violence, both verbal and physical, happened at the Oscars. Disability was spotlighted Sunday night both as a win and as a loss. One step forward, one step back. Change must keep happening 💖
— Lauren Ridloff (@LaurenRidloff) March 29, 2022
On Tuesday afternoon, Ridloff tweeted, “Violence, both verbal and physical, happened at the Oscars. Disability was spotlighted Sunday night both as a win and as a loss. One step forward, one step back. Change must keep happening.”
Many fans agreed that the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony was full of double standards.
“I just think it reeks of double standards. One minute the Academy are celebrating CODA the next minute letting a host mock someone with a medical condition / disability,” one user wrote. “I’ve been made fun of all my life and it seems like it’s acceptable to mock certainty disabilities.”
“Well said Lauren,” another wrote.
Another user called it a “horrendous lack of control and disrespect to the integrity of the audience. Positivity, and maintaining visibility, will promote empathy and mitigate against aggression/violence.”
“But if Will Smith gets away with slapping Chris Rock, it basically justifies violence. So if I’m at a comedy club, and I don’t agree with what a comic says, I can smack him and get away with it? Will should be treated the same as the rest of us and face consequences.”
“Making fun of someone is not comedy,” another replied.
Will Smith Apologized To Chris Rock: ‘I Was Out Of Line’
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On Monday night, the new Academy Award winner took to his social media accounts in order to express a thoughtful apology to Rock. While he was accepting his Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard, many noticed that he apologized to the Academy and to his fellow nominees, but not to Rock directly.
Smith began his lengthy apology, writing, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive.”
“My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” he continued. “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world,” he went on. “I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
“I am a work in progress,” he concluded. “Sincerely, Will.”