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‘Summer of Soul’ Producer Calls Out Chris Rock for Labeling Him One of ‘Four White Guys’

"Summer of Soul" producer Joseph Patel took to Twitter in a since-deleted thread to call out 2022 Oscars presenter Chris Rock.

Summer of Soul

Joseph Patel, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Robert Fyvolent, and David Dinerstein

PMC

Chris Rock’s quip about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair is not his only joke being criticized from the 2022 Oscars.

After Will Smith assaulted presenter Rock on stage while Rock was announcing the Best Documentary category, Rock proceeded to list the award as going to “Ahmir Thompson and four white guys” for “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised,” despite the film only having four producers total: director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Robert Fyvolent, Joseph Patel, and David Dinerstein. Patel took to Twitter in a since-deleted thread to share his reaction to the evening.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, on March 30 Patel tweeted that he was “angry” not only with Smith for having “robbed” the entire category of its once-in-a-lifetime Oscars moment, but also with Rock for the “four white guys” comment, which Rock had allegedly said the night before as well.

The producer explained exactly why the joke “rubbed me the wrong way”: “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. I was ecstatic that I was the third South Asian to win that night — after [Riz Ahmed] and Aneil Karia won earlier in the night for ‘The Long Goodbye.’ Three South Asians winning on the same night — that’s never happened before! And it’s meaningful! It’s history!”

While Patel assured followers that he “can take a joke” but “not in that moment,” he then wrote, “What a shitty, disrespectful thing to do. AND HERE’S THE THING…. It wasn’t that Chris Rock was under stress. He made the same joke the night before on stage at the Roots Jam!”

Patel added that he was speaking “for me and me alone. Not Ahmir and not our co-producers,” noting that he is “still sort of processing” the altercation between Smith and Rock.

“Once we realized the Chris Rock/Will Smith interaction wasn’t a bit, everything got turned upside down,” Patel said. “Everyone was still trying to make sense of it when Chris persevered and started to read the nominees.”

Patel continued, “I think what Will did was selfish. 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.”

Per Patel, the “Summer of Soul” team was “in shock walking to the stage, not because of winning but because we, too, [we’re] still trying to make sense of what happened. Then Will hugs Ahmir and daps me up. I didn’t even know it was happening in the moment. Still in shock.”

Patel said, “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…four white guys.’ WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?????”

Patel summed up that he was “angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow filmmakers.”

He ended the thread by saying he won’t be watching the ceremony: “Thank you, Chris — you absolute fucking dick. What both Will AND Chris did really stained what should have been a beautiful moment for us.”

Patel later deleted the thread and instead tweeted, “We reached the unproductive portion of the viral Twitter thread so I’ve deleted it. I said what I needed to say and feel at peace with it. Some of y’all are weirdos.”

Questlove previously revealed on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that he was “literally not present for that entire moment” involving Smith, and that both the “King Richard” Best Actor winner and Rock are “two very good friends of mine.”

Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes similarly called for an apology from Smith for disrespecting the awards ceremony; Rock had already apologized for overshadowing the evening.

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