Will Smith is apparently ready to get back on social media and has enlisted some meme gorillas in order to do so.
Will Smith is having a pretty bad year. After an atypical run of profitable but poorly received movies like Suicide Squad (the first one, not the good one) and Netflix’s Bright, he seemed ready to make comeback. He starred as famous tennis dad Richard Williams in what turned out to be an Academy Award-winning role and he had become noted as an especially engaging celebrity on social media. So far, so good as it comes revitalizing Will Smith as one of the brightest stars in Hollywood history. Then came the 94th Academy Awards, Chris Rock made a joke about alopecia, and things have not gone right for Will Smith since. It seems that the Bad Boys actor is prepared to try to get back on social media, by doing whatever anyone else would do: post a gorilla video.
As you can see from the post above, Will Smith seems to be feeling out his return to Instagram with a carefully focus group-tested meme. The popular video here shows a small ape walking up behind a much larger adult and prodding it in the rear, only to retreat and do it over again until the large gorilla seems to get irritating. It can be assumed that Will Smith is posting this video in the spirit of light self-deprecation and awareness that not everyone in the world feels great about him, some months after he publicly slapped comedian Chris Rock and then screamed profanities from his seat.
Will Smith has long been known for his tight control over his public image, which eventually helped him become one of the biggest box office draws in history and a universally beloved pop cultural figure. The now-infamous Academy Award slap managed to wipe out decades of public goodwill in an instant, though there had already been some cracks in the Smith family persona prior to that. Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk series had raised eyebrows with its surprising candidness about various issues (marital and non) that the Smith family had experienced, and it seems that the slap just made the public that much more ready to turn on a Will Smith who had turned out to be shockingly human and flawed.
In the wake of the Academy Award incident, Will Smith voluntarily resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, becoming only the third individual to ever do so. Interestingly, all three resignations occurred in 2022, making it a particularly momentous year in show business awards. The Academy went on to ban Will Smith from any events (including its award ceremony) for the next ten years.
It will have to remain to be seen whether the public at large will ever see Will Smith in the same way as they did during his 1990s run of films like Men in Black and Independence Day. At the very least, it seems that Will Smith is ready to make the attempt and enlist any ape-related memes he needs in order to do so.