Entertainment

Summer of Soul Oscar Winner Joseph Patel Is Furious with Chris Rock

While Chris Rock was the recipient of Will Smith‘s hotly-debated Oscar slap, there were other unintended victims of the incident—specifically the producers of Summer of Soul, the stirring film about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which won the best documentary Oscar shortly after the incident. 

In a since-deleted Twitter thread, Summer of Soul producer Joseph Patel shared his profound disappointment at the way Smith’s slap robbed his film of its Oscar moment, and called Rock an “absolute f—ing dick” for the way he announced the movie’s win—proclaiming that Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and “four white guys” had received the award. In fact, Questlove won along with three producers: Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein, and Patel, who in that moment became the first person of South Asian descent to win the Oscar for best documentary feature.

“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,” Patel said on Twitter. Per the Huffington Post, Patel went on to name check two other South Asian winners from the evening—Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia, who won best short film for The Long Goodbye. “That’s never happened before!” Patel pointed out. “And it’s meaningful! It’s history!”

Patel also expressed his rage at Rock apparently intentionally mis-categorizing his racial identity, noting that Rock made the same dig at Summer of Soul’s producers “the night before on stage at the Roots Jam.” Patel went on to say that while he can take a joke, Rock’s inaccurate jab was “a shitty, disrespectful thing to do.”

“So I’m angry,” Patel continued. “Angry at Will Smith. Angry at Chris Rock. Angry for me. Angry for Ahmir. Angry for my fellow filmmakers. 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 f—ing dick.” 

The next day, Patel deleted his Twitter thread and wrote the following: “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.” 

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