A Little Foreword
Psst, psst, heard about Kourtney Kardashian and TravisBaker’sr third wedding in Italy recently? Or about Liam Payne’s surprising revelation on Logan Paul’s podcast about inter-One Direction drama? And of course, the most scandalous of all, the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial which lasted for six weeks. The world of celebrities has always been shrouded in colorful, bizarre gossip and tea (if you know what I mean). What is perceived on media can be completely different off screen.
Today, Echo is going to break down a few of the eye-catching gossip that has taken the world up in a storm recently. Although most of us might be well aware of these gossips, a revision is certainly due.
Will Smith – Chris Rock Slapping Incident at the 94th Academy Awards
Each year, the most remarkable talent from the film industry gathers at an event organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to potentially win one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry, the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. This year, the 94th Academy Awards was held on 27 March 2022, and everyone was excited to see who the nominees and winners of each category were going to be. However, nobody expected this incident to occur. During Chris Rocks’ presentation for the Best Documentary Feature, he uttered a joke regarding Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head due to a disorder known as alopecia areata. He said,
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, alright?”
This statement was a reference to the 1997 movie G.I Jane, where the protagonist was also an actress who shaved her head to play the role of the protagonist. Following the joke, Will Smith and the audience laughed at his joke. However, Jada seemed upset or annoyed, and rolled her eyes. Then, Will Smith decided to take action, walked up to the stage, slapped Chris Rock’s face, and then returned to his seat. The following was the exchange between Chris Rock and Will Smith after the slap:
Rock: “Oh, wow! Wow, Will Smith just smacked the **** out of me.”
Smith: “Keep my wife’s name out your ****ING MOUTH!”
Rock: “Wow, dude!”
Rock: “It was a G.I. Jane joke.”
Smith: “KEEP MY WIFE’S NAME OUT YOUR ****ING MOUTH!”
Rock: “I’m going to, okay? I could, oh, okay. That was a… greatest night in the history of television, okay.”
After this exchange, the show goes on, and Will Smith was consulted by his publicist Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry during a commercial break. Moreover, that same night, Denzel Washington also mentioned that the three of them prayed together to help Will Smith find peace. As the show proceeded, Will Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor. In his speech, he apologized to the Academy and all the nominees; however, he only apologized publicly to Chris Rock the day after through an Instagram post.
A few days after the Oscars, Will Smith resigned from the Academy’s membership and was banned from the Oscars or any Academy-related events for ten years, starting from 8 April 2022. To quote what the Academy said, the ban was caused by “the violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
Taylor Swift’s Graduation Speech
Taylor Swift, one of the world’s most famous musicians, graduated and received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from New York University (NYU) on 18 May 2022, alongside the class of 2022. During the graduation ceremony at Yankee Stadium, she was given the opportunity to present a 20-minute speech filled with humor, wisdom, and motivation in front of the class of 2022. She started her speech by thanking numerous people, then proceeded to talk about the desires and expectations of a typical college life, which were not fulfilled due to the global pandemic. Subsequently, she gave out life hacks on navigating throughout life. Overall, she gave the class of 2022 three life hacks:
1. “The first of which is: Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once”
2. “Secondly: Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively”
3. “Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth.”
Following these three life hacks, she started talking about her journey, experiences, and lessons she learned from being a musician, while also inserting bits and pieces of advice from her journey. Finally, she closed the speech by encouraging all graduates:
“I leave you with this: We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes. So will I. And when I do, you will most likely read about it on the internet. Anyway…hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it.”
Many graduates that day felt touched and inspired by her speech, but a few expressed otherwise. Some people critique Taylor Swift, saying that other honorary degree recipients are more suitable for delivering the speech, such as American neuroscientist Susan Hockfield or the chancellor of The City University of New York Felix Matos Rodriguez. Furthermore, some graduates were left confused when she talked about effortlessness. She said:
“Effortlessness is a myth. The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it most are the people I now hire to work for my company.”
The crowds weren’t sure what she meant by this statement. Some speculate this was her way of appreciating the people who care and put in the effort into the things they do. However, as this was the cohort of students who have struggled through the uncertainty and worries caused by the global pandemic, it seems unnecessary to give advice regarding effort. Finally, she shared her experience and the lessons she learned from those experiences. However, as one of the most famous musicians in the world and the winner of eleven Grammys, her experience and lessons might not be very relatable to the graduates on that day. Overall, it was a mixed response to Taylor Swift’s graduation speech.
Meghan Markle and The Royals
Probably the biggest scandal after Princess Diana’s mysterious accident, the royal family of England faced another world-rippling scandal-Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s rather alarming interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS in early 2021. Many issues were brought to light, especially Meghan Markle’s precarious mental health, the concerns related to Archie’s skin color (the couple’s first child), the royals not providing security to the family and more appalling discussions that had left the general public in a flurry.
When it was first revealed to the public that the Suits’ actress and Prince Harry were ‘seeing each other’, numerous criticisms were thrown at both, mainly from the Britons themselves. Prince Harry was called out for his poor choices in a life-partner, being a direct descendant of the Royal family. This was to the extent that the palace released a statement expressing how disappointed and highly worried Prince Harry was due to the wave of harassment and abuse the former actress was receiving.
And let’s not forget the so-called ‘rift’ between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. According to palace insiders, the duchesses fought over Princess Charlotte’s dress during the couple’s wedding in May 2018. According to Meghan in the interview with Oprah, Kate made her cry but later apologized about it-this was the beginning of the tension between them both.
Naturally, when the famed couple made their exit as senior royals from the palace in early 2020, it created a good amount of friction between the royal family and Prince Harry. As was seen or told by royal insiders, Prince Harry was not given a warm welcome by his family during the late Prince Phillip’s funeral, seeing that the royal family had just been dealt with a double dose of disappointment with the death of Prince Phillip and the alarming CBS interview.
The palace staff describe Meghan Markle as someone ‘difficult’ to deal with. When the couple left the country, many allegations were made against Meghan stating that she had mistreated the royal aides and abused them. Meghan had wished to do things her own way, paying no heed to the palace culture. Based on the claims, the palace responded by informing that they were carrying out investigations with Meghan, expressing her disappointment in such ‘attacks on her character’.
The former senior royals did, however, attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary of accession. A four-day event in tow with extravagant celebrations was held from 2nd to the 5th of June with the attendance of the complete royal family. This was, in fact, the first time the Queen met Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s second-born, Lilibet, who was christened after her great-grandmother’s pet name. Unfortunately, the one-year-old only met the Queen for fifteen minutes and wasn’t allowed a picture with the Queen. The press states that this is due to the distrust placed upon the couple.
A note to take away would be the fact that the royal family has something called the Royal Rota, more commonly known as the royal press. What is exposed to the public about the royal family is determined by the Firm- (an informal term used to express the palace as an institute). The royal press was given full access to get snippets of the life of royals and Meghan felt quite anxious over it, as revealed in the CBS interview.
Entertainment. That is what gossip about celebs is to the general public. We may not know the true and whole story but, what we do know keeps us entertained. It is up to the public themselves to decide on what to believe and what not to believe. Bear in mind that not everything seen or heard is true. Being cautious about information in all forms is the first step to understanding the truth. So, learn how to take everything with a pinch of salt.
Written by: Daniel and Poorani
Edited by: Jamie