Fast & Furious star Tyrese Gibson has laid into Oscars host Chris Rock after the comedian and actor used his opening monologue to mock Jada Pinkett Smith for her decision not to attend this year’s ceremony in protest against the awards’ lack of racial diversity.
Gibson took to Instagram to lambast Rock for criticising Pinkett Smith, who made the first call for a boycott of the Oscars on Twitter last month.
“Someone posted the tasteless joke that Chris Rock did in his opening,” he wrote. “Did you really use your STAGE to tear down and diminish one of the strongest most fearless black women IN this town as the world watched???
“Jokes are just jokes right???? Not when someone is trying to affect change......... Not when someone is willing to put it ALL on the line to affect change for our daughters and sons of the future........ Shame on you Chris Rock.”
Gibson has been an ardent proponent of boycotting this year’s Oscars in response to the failure of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to nominate a non-white actor for a second successive year. Last month, he joined a number of other black celebrities, including the rapper 50 Cent, in calling for Rock to step down as host.
“Jada got mad, Jada says she’s not coming, protesting, I’m like — doesn’t she have a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited,” joked Rock during his opening Oscars monologue.
Final ratings for this year’s Oscars suggest the ceremony was down just 2% among black audiences, though the ceremony is generally less popular with the demographic. On average, over the past decade, black people have made up 9% of the audience for the Oscars, according to Nielsen, despite representing 13.2% of the US population.