The Wrong Will Smith: Twitter Users Bombard Video-Game Exec After Oscars Slap Flap
Consider this a PSA: The owner of the verified Twitter @willsmith account is not the disgraced actor Will Smith who just resigned from the Academy after slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards.
The actor Will Smith does not have an official Twitter account.
After the actor announced Friday he was relinquishing his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Will Smith — a podcaster, gamer and PR guy for indie game studio Stray Bombay who lives in San Francisco — girded for a new tweetstorm of misdirected commentary toward @willsmith, which he’s had since 2007. “Oh no, not again,” he wrote in a GIF of a flying bowl of petunias (a reference to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe”).
This isn’t San Francisco Will Smith’s first rodeo in getting confused with the actor who shares his name. Indeed, his personal website is notthatwillsmith.com, and his Twitter bio also points out that he is “notthatwillsmith.”
The yearslong case of mistaken identity reached a crescendo Sunday, after the actor Will Smith strode onto the Oscars stage on live TV and smacked Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith. After being flooded with Twitter comments after The Slap, @willsmith posted this: “Real talk, I’m not the person you’re upset/happy with. I make podcasts and video games for a living. At the risk of making people pissed off at me instead of that other guy, the world would be a better place if we stopped answering words with violence.”
Even on the thread Friday in which gamer-podcaster Will Smith pointed out that he is not that Will Smith, Twitter users continued to mistakenly @ him. “Give back your Oscar CLOWN,” someone wrote in reply to @willsmith’s flying-petunias GIF.
Sympathizing with San Francisco Will Smith’s plight, one observer commented, “Somehow, still this many people are not questioning why the other guy would have a picture of some bearded white dude as their avatar?”
Meanwhile, not helping matters was a tweet Sunday night by ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith — no relation to either of the Will Smiths — chastising the actor for his behavior, in which he tagged @willsmith.
“Didn’t know until just this moment about @jadapsmith having Alopecia. She’s wonderful and great. So is @willsmith — which we all know,” Stephen A. Smith tweeted. “They’re both phenomenal. But you do NOT do what Will did in that setting. Go backstage and handle that shit if you must. Horrible look!”
On Sunday, a financial planner named George Papadopoulus — not the George Papadopoulus who served as an adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and later pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making false statements to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian nationals — felt @willsmith’s pain.
“Dude, welcome to the club!” financial-planner Papadopoulos tweeted at San Francisco Will Smith.
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