Tony’s issue ‘No Violence’ policy ahead of Theater Awards Gala

Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal accepts the lifetime achievement award at the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
Associated Press/Chris Pizzello

As a cautionary measure to subvert any unexpected assaults against thespians, honorees or hosts of the 75th annual Tony Awards, the organizers recently issued a statement informing patrons of a No Violence policy to ward off copy-cats contemplating a repeat of the March 27 Oscar night debacle between an actor/comedian and an actor/rapper.

“The Tony Awards has a strict no violence policy. In the event of an incident, the perpetrator will be removed from the event immediately,” an insert to potential ticket buyers read.

The statement strongly warned of swift action against violators of their newly mandated policy adding they would be “immediately” escorted from Radio City Music Hall where the gala honors to Broadway achievers will be held on June 12.

The mandate prompted mixed reactions on social media with a preponderance of sarcastic comments from insiders throughout the Great White Way who contend producers are over-reacting to an isolated event.

“Give it a rest Tony Awards, this is a bit much,” composer Stephen Trask whose Hedwick and the Angry Inch” is receiving much acclaim from critics and patrons alike.

On the other hand, Billy Crystal — whose “Mr. Saturday Night” recently opened on Broadway — applauded the pre-emptory move he believes should have been effected on April 27 when former two-time time host of the Academy Awards Chris Rock received a slap from Oscar-winner Will Smith for targeting his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith in a joke the comedian considered funny.

Like the film awards controversy, reactions have been split as to which actor improperly violated standards expected by the Academy of Motion Pictures.

Rock “went too far,” Sean P-Diddy Combs allegedly said following the incident “Chris needs to chill.”

Oscar winner Denzel Williams reportedly consoled Smith, the assailant by telling him ‘At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.’

Together with film mogul and actor Tyler Perry, they prayed with Smith.

Media seemed to have hijacked the moment with repeated replays of the offending action. Social media seized an opportunity to capitalize on the embarrassment by sharing replacement images of warring European leaders — Smith as Ukraine’s President Zelensky and Rock as a wincing Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Since that time, Smith has issued an apology and resigned from the film Academy he held membership. The rapper turned actor who collected a best actor Oscar statuette after he walked onstage the gala awards to rebuke his jokester colleague was recently seen on arrival to a hotel in India. Reportedly there to seek spiritual guidance Smith was spotted in celebrity mode posing for photos with nationals there.

Rock however, has been keeping a low profile but reportedly has profited from his unresponsive stance with sold out stand-up bookings at comedy clubs.

The Tony Awards will present theater’s awards of excellence on CBS-TV at 8 pm on June 12.

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