‘It robbed us’: Summer of Soul producer criticises Will Smith and Chris Rock

<span>Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Joseph Patel calls Smith’s Oscars conduct ‘selfish’ and says he is ‘so so very angry’ Rock introduced him and fellow producers as ‘four white guys’

Joseph Patel, the producer of music documentary Summer of Soul, has accused both Will Smith and Chris Rock of selfishness in overshadowing his film’s triumph on Sunday night at the Oscars.

Patel, who produced the documentary alongside Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein and director Questlove, said he was “still trying to make sense” of the exchange, which saw Smith slap Rock for making a joke about his wife’s alopecia.

The incident happened directly before the documentary results were announced.

Joseph Patel with Ahmir &#x00201c;Questlove&#x00201d; Thompson.
Joseph Patel with Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson. Photograph: David Livingston/Getty Images

“I think what Will did was selfish,” wrote Patel on Twitter, in a now deleted thread. “It robbed the category of its moment. It robbed the other excellent and amazing films of their moment to be acknowledged in what was a STRONG year for docs.

“And it robbed Summer of Soul and our team of our moment. Of a loud, enthusiastic cheer for a celebrated film.”

Patel writes that he recalled walking on stage to accept the award and Smith hugging Questlove, who “handled the moment with grace, giving a speech from the heart.”

He added: “What I didn’t hear in that moment walking to stage but was told of afterwards is what Chris Rock said when reading our name from the winner’s card – The winner is ‘Summer of Soul …Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson and 4 white guys.” WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?????

“The reason that makes me SO SO VERY ANGRY is because I was so proud to be one of a handful of South Asians to have ever won an Oscar in the history of the award.”

In fact, Patel was the third south Asian man to pick up an award that night, after Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia.

“So with my family and friends watching, Chris Rock lumped me in as 1 of ‘4 white guys. (Nevermind the disrespect to @d2films and @fyvo for not even saying their names, and the inaccuracy of us being 3 producers not 4),” Patel continued.

Patel declined to put Rock’s joke down to discombobulation after the slap, as “he made the same joke the night before on stage at the Roots Jam!”

“So I’m angry,” he wrote. “Angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow film-makers.

“I got back home to New York last night and saw the ceremony on my DVR and didn’t have the stomach to watch it. I probably never will. Thank you, Chris – You absolute fucking dick.”