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Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro accused of racist commentary on Will Smith slap

Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro accused of racist commentary on Will Smith slap
The Fox News host advocated on her show that the Oscar-winning actor shouldn’t be allowed back to future Academy Award ceremonies

One day after the Academy Awards began to weather the incident that has captured the internet by storm, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro weighed in on Will Smith’s infamous slap ofChris Rock at the awards ceremony.

Her comments, which many online have criticised as racist, came when Ms Pirro was asked on her nightly program The Five for her perspective on the incident, to which she replied, “I think that the Oscars are not the hood”.

Piers Morgan, a guest host on the Fox show, had a more measured response, but Ms Pirro decided to continue with her barrage, adding that she thought the Oscars “[is] not a bar. I don’t think you march up on stage because a guy makes a joke about your wife that honestly I think is complimentary”.

The King Richard actor, who won best actor in a leading role on Sunday night at the ceremony, has since issued an apology to comedian Mr Rock and the Academy, saying he was “out of line” and “wrong”.

“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 emotionally,” Mr Smith said in an apology addressed specifically to Mr Rock and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “I would like to publicly apologise 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.”

Twitter users were quick to point out how, while the A-list actor has come out with an apology, Ms Pirro has notably decided to take the lower road by comparing a fight between two celebrated – and millionaire – Hollywood stars to “the hood”.

The Fox personality went on to say that she believes Mr Smith exhibited “celebrity privilege” during the episode and should not be invited back to the Academy Awards.

She added that the Oscar-winning actor took it upon himself “to disrupt the event, to go up on stage, to commit violence on stage, then come back and curse out so we can’t even put on television what he says because he feels slighted about a joke”.

Though not seen on American broadcasts, Mr Smith could be heard yelling at Rock to keep Jada Pinkett Smith’s name out of his “f***ing mouth” after he’d returned to his seat on international broadcasts that hadn’t edited out the full extent of his remarks.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has since condemned the actor’s actions and announced Monday they have opened an investigation into the episode.

“We … will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.” the statement reads.