Has Will Smith advocated “cleansing America of Trump supporters”?


Will Smith advocated “purging” the United States of Trump supporters, saying, “We’re learning who the people are, and now we can purge them from our country.”




Just prior to making the above comment, Smith spoke of a “purification” that comes about through honest dialogue. He likened addressing Islamophobic vitriol in the US to a marriage counseling session in which a couple voices their darkest thoughts in order to reach a point of “understanding” and “move forward in our relationship.”

A 2016 comment by actor Will Smith has gone viral for allegedly calling for a “purge” of Trump supporters from the US. Smith made the statement on the Dubai news conference for the film Suicide Squad in August 2016 after being asked by a reporter if he had any comment on Islamophobia in the US

At the time, Trump’s presidential campaign was running, during which Trump needed anti-Muslim rhetoric and proposed guidelines for Muslim communities.

In April 2023, a Twitter user shared a video of a section of Smith’s comments, writing, “Disgraced actor Will Smith advocated genocide against Republicans.” The video was captioned, “Will Smith: ‘Clean America of Trump Supporters !’”

In the clip, Smith says, “As painful as it is to hear Donald Trump speak, and as embarrassing as an American to hear him speak, I think it’s good. We learn who the people are and now we can clean it out of our country.”

However, his words were taken out of context and misrepresented. Smith did not advocate genocide, nor did he call for Americans to be purged of Trump supporters.

As seen in the full video of the interview, Smith was asked the following question: “As a public figure you come to the Middle East from the United States at a time of Islamophobia, a lot of turbulence is happening in this region. What kind of message do you have for the people who see it from the outside, what message can you put out there?”

Smith begins answering the question at the 38-minute mark in the following Facebook video:

“It’s important to show yourself,” Smith said. “It’s like, I’m in Dubai having fun and I’m tweeting and I’m showing pictures, ‘Hey! It doesn’t look like they hate me, does it?’ I think the imagery of that is hugely important to me.”

He then spoke about the actual Islamophobia that is prevalent in the US, comparing the vitriol to the feelings that emerge in a marriage counseling session (emphasis mine):

[…] I’m very, very confident that what we’re seeing in America right now is a purge, that things are coming to the surface. I’m thinking about marriage counseling […] What happens in a marriage when counseling takes place and the truth comes out? And you’re sitting across from your wife and you’ve told your whole truth and she’s told her whole truth and you look at each other and you can’t imagine that you could ever love each other again […] it creates a dark moment but to me it’s the darkness before dawn when the truth comes out and people have to stand up and say who they are and what they think and you get to know who they are. I think that’s the cleansing before we get to the other side, which is understanding, which is moving forward in our relationship.

As painful as it is to hear Donald Trump speak, and as embarrassing as an American as it is to hear him speak, I think it’s good. We learn who the people are and now we can purge them from our land.

Ultimately, Smith used the term “cleansing” to denote a form of truth-finding, a dialogue in which the parties understand each other’s grievances and move forward in a relationship. The full text of his statements shows that he was not advocating a “genocide of Republicans” or a “purge of Trump supporters” from the United States

We therefore rate this claim as “false”.

Brian Ashcraft

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