It is a shame that Will Smith’s reasonable comments have been taken out of context and he has been forced to apologize.
Here is what he said:
Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good’. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming. I wake up every day full of hope, positive that every day is going to be better than yesterday. And I’m looking to infect people with my positivity. I think I can start an epidemic.
I hope he still thinks so. What he was saying is that even people who inflict great evil on the world usually believe that what they are doing is right. Recognizing that is an essential element of understanding the nature of evil and how to prevent it. No one who understood Smith’s point — or who has ever spent five minutes observing his behavior — could imagine he was in any way endorsing Hitler’s actions. Tim Gordon, as usual, has it right: “this is a situation where an actor gave an opinion and the interviewer twisted the context only after he received an answer that left room for further interpretation.”