Will Smith Gets Flak for Reported $150,000 Donation to Nation of Islam

Right-wing blogs criticize Philly-bred actor.

Will Smith in an apparently manufactured image of him wearing a kaffiyeh that has been circulating online and Louis Farrakhan via Wikimedia Commons.

Will Smith in an apparently manufactured image of him wearing a kaffiyeh that has been circulating online and Louis Farrakhan via Wikimedia Commons.

Somehow, I missed my invitation to hear Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speak last week at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, which I guess doesn’t have enough of a problem with Farrakhan’s anti-semitic, anti-white and anti-LGBT stances to prevent him from mounting the pulpit. At the event, Farrakhan announced that Philadelphia hero Will Smith had donated $150,000 to an upcoming Nation of Islam event.

The same announcement was made on Farrakhan’s official Facebook page. “Last night in Philadelphia, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan announced that he called upon Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to support 10-10-15,” reads the post. “And he said the couple happily donated $150,000 to offset the cost of hosting the upcoming historic gathering!”

The Nation of Islam-organized event in question is “Justice or Else: The 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March.” Smith reportedly attended the very first Million Man March in 1995, one year before his starring role in the mega-blockbuster Independence Day.

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Plenty of right wing blogs just as extreme as the Nation of Islam have documented the donation with headlines like “BREAKING: Will Smith Makes SHOCK Donation to Black Muslim Who Called for Murdering Whites.” Some of those blogs have included the above — apparently fake — photo of Smith wearing Muslim garb.

And naturally, the social media sphere hasn’t been quiet about this:

But $150,000 is a weekend in Vegas for a guy reportedly worth hundreds of millions. It could be that Smith just didn’t want to refuse the request of a guy like Farrakhan, and it’s not like Smith is doing video PSAs on behalf of the event or the controversial organization behind it, which would be much more valuable than an almost meaningless fraction of what he is paid for each film.

Some have even suggested that Smith is now a member of the Nation of Islam. “But isn’t he a Scientologist?” a colleague asked me. Interesting question. Smith has never confirmed allegiance with Scientology, and people associated with the church have, in fact, denied it outright, but he has donated money to the organization.

Smith’s publicist didn’t immediately respond to Philly Mag’s request for comment about any connection to the Nation of Islam — nor to calls from other outlets — but just because a rich guy gives money to organizations like Scientology and Farrakhan’s group doesn’t mean that he buys into all of the crazy shit that they’re selling. That said, when Smith redoes the “Summertime” video with Mecca as the backdrop, let us know.