Actress Somy Ali has never been one to mince her words. Talking about the recent incident at the Oscars where Hollywood actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock since the latter made fun of Smith’s wife’s health condition, Somy says that she stands divided on the matter. “I have two opinions on this: The joke was in extremely poor taste given Smith’s wife’s struggle with alopecia. My second opinion is that violence begets violence and hate begets hate. Therefore, I do not condone violence in any situation as I am a pacifist myself. There could have been many ways to handle this on Smith’s end and it shows Rock’s class by not filing charges. Again, I am not in any shape or form saying that his joke was not hurtful to Jada, but if you notice Smith first laughed at it and then took action. This depicts that he found out funny and then realised his wife’s condition and suddenly decided to do something about it with no rationality whatsoever,” says Somi, who runs an NGO No More Tears in the US which helps victims of domestic violence and abuse.
She says that as celebrities, it’s important to accept that you will be trolled or joked about. “Once you are a celebrity and you choose to be one, you will forever be trolled, made fun of, bullied and, yes, be the joke of the party or award shows. There is simply no escaping that if you choose the fame game. It’s part of the territory and we see it daily on celebrities globally on their social media. I have been away from the industry for 20 years and now when I decide to speak my truth because I am now ready and it’s my choice to speak up when I wish to do so. I have been getting the most disgusting messages and sadly the majority of them are from women,” she says.
She adds, “Well, here’s one of my favourite quotes: “Laugh loudly, laugh often, and most importantly laugh at yourself.” Chelsea Handler. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you are devoid of humility in my opinion.” Ask her where does she think people should draw the line with jokes, she says, “I think celebrities’ children should never bear the brunt of the jokes, children should always be left out of it. Jokes about rape, sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence cross the line for me. That’s absolutely unacceptable for me.”