Mike Tyson praised for violent response while Will Smith was lambasted

A set of events that occurred practically a month apart have shown the duplicity society often shows when it comes to popular topics after former boxing champion Mike Tyson was praised for beating an unruly fan while Will Smith was lambasted and stripped of opportunities for slapping comedian Chris Rock.

You will recall that Rock made a joke about Pinkett-Smith’s lack of hair while presenting the best documentary Oscar, even going as far as comparing her to Demi Moore in G.I. Jane towards the end of March this year. 

Her husband, Will Smith, took to the stage and slapped Rock before returning to his seat while shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*** mouth”.

While the Oscar producers were able to censor the audio for their audience in the United States, uncensored footage went out to international viewers.

will smith India
Will Smith photographed in India in 2019. Picture: Twitter

About a month after Smith made headlines, Tyson repeatedly punched a passenger on a plane as they were waiting to fly out of San Francisco. 

Tyson reportedly became irritated by the man’s attempts to talk to him.

Cell phone footage showed Tyson leaning over the back of his seat and delivering a flurry of blows to the man, who appeared to be left with bruises and some bleeding in the incident on Wednesday.

“Iron Mike” was initially friendly to the passenger and his friend when they boarded the flight but reacted after the man “wouldn’t stop provoking” him, the TMZ entertainment website said.

The man “kept trying to talk” to the 55-year-old fighter, reported the publication.

Watch as Kay Selisho and Sandi Mbhele break down the week’s top headlines:

“Tyson had enough of the guy behind him talking in his ear… and told him to chill. When the guy didn’t, that’s when the witness says Tyson started to throw several punches at the man’s face.”

Tyson was reported to have walked off the plane before it took off for Florida.

Considered one of the best heavyweights of all time, Tyson is also known for his erratic behaviour — biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a 1997 bout — and brushes with the law, including a conviction for rape and cocaine addiction.

While both incidents were brazen and public displays of violence, only one man has been lambasted and had his feet held to the fire while the other’s behaviour has been brushed off (and, in some cases, praised as the correct approach to conflict).

If we’re going to live in the just and equal society that many people claim to want, why is violence okay when it comes from some and not others and why are the calls for “justice” only lauded when applied to a select few. 

Why must Will Smith’s career be impacted while Mike Tyson’s goes on as normal as he enjoys the success of a new business venture poking fun at his attack on Holyfield?

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Compiled by Kaunda Selisho

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