With backlash growing over the Academy Awards’ lack of diversity among its nominees, Chris Rock is getting a little heat about his upcoming gig as host of the ceremony. According to The Hollywood Reporter, hip hop icon 50 Cent and actor Tyrese Gibson called for Rock to step down as host.
50 Cent posted an appeal to Rock on Instagram, writing: “You mean a lot man, don’t do it. Please.” Gibson also took to Instagram, posting a message saying “There is NO JOKE YOU CAN CRACK TO EVER CHANGE THE WAY WE ALL FEEL!”
The social media effort follows announcements by Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee that they will not attend the ceremony. Lee has since clarified his position and declined to call his action a boycott. Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton has begun organizing a national “tune-out” of the Oscars telecast, according to the New York Post.
For his part, Rock has not addressed the growing controversy. Fox News notes that the comedian has labeled Hollywood racist in the past, calling show business “a white industry” and L.A. “a slave state.”
Rock did send out a promotional tweet on Jan. 15, the day after the nominations were announced, in which he called the Oscars “the white BET Awards.”
The last time Rock hosted the Academy Awards, in 2005, the race issue apparently wasn’t much of an issue — at least not in the edited version of Rock’s opening monologue posted online by the Oscars; here it is: