Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance, and now the world is divided.
Rock referenced Pinkett Smith’s bald head and joked, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”
Jada was diagnosed with alopecia in 2018 and has been open about her struggles with not being able to grow her hair. Will Smith initially laughed, but the look on Jada’s face showed she was not amused. Will promptly left his seat, walked onto the stage, slapped Chris, and told him to “keep my wife’s name out your f*cking mouth.’
As people processed the incident, there were varying levels of debate on social media. I imagine there will be many think pieces surrounding this incident in the days to come. Many people are calling for Will Smith to be cancelled due to his demonstration of toxic masculinity. Many celebs have already stated that violence is not the answer.
So much commentary on Will Smith assaulting Chris Rock at Academy Awards. Will’s behaviour is not OK. He had a perfect platform to address comments about his wife & be seen as a great role model. Instead used it for a cowardly attack, reinforcing toxic behaviour #AcademyAwards pic.twitter.com/WZhTknuR0f— Pat Cronin Foundation (@PatCroninPC12) March 28, 2022
Seeing a lot of hot takes on what happened between Chris Rock and Will Smith at #Oscars and I GET IT.— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) March 28, 2022
It is the most intense thing to ever happen on that stage.
But the whole incident, from top to bottom, was toxic masculinity. Neither of those dudes are the good guy here.
Others have sided with Smith because Rock’s joke was a low blow against a woman who struggles to be confident about her condition. Also, the fact Chris Rock continually makes jokes about Jada.
this question is rhetorical. why is it that white feminists have labeled will smith’s behavior “toxic masculinity” but not chris rock’s pattern of belittling jada pinkett-smith and black women as a whole?— Loni (They/Them) (@jaowrites) March 28, 2022
Of course, respectability politics came into play as some Black people condemned Smith for showing out in front of white people because we should never do that.
At end of the day I feel Will Smith embarrassed not only himself but his culture, black men everywhere and all this before the memorium of Sidney Portier .. who would be rolling over in his grave . There’s a time and place , the Oscars were neither. #BlackTwitter #Oscars2022— Trav (@Travesty87) March 28, 2022
Can’t hit people cause you don’t like what they say. Will Smith is a veteran of Hollywood and understands time & place. Chris Rock probably didn’t even write that lame joke. Such an intense & impulsive act of emotion tells me Will Smith needs a therapist asap.— Christopher Duett (@BethuneTheory) March 28, 2022
Even a non-black had to condemn the respectability politics nonsense.
The amount of people condemning Will Smith for a slap in response to a joke about his wife’s autoimmune condition when the alternative is to have Jada Pinkett Smith deal with that in silence is respectability politics on full display.— Joan Zahra Dark ✨ جوان ز هر اء دارك (@whoaitsjoan) March 28, 2022
What’s too far for a comedian?
There were many people on Twitter who expressed their concerns for the future of comedians. Has Smith normalised the slapping of comedians?
Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock may easily inspire the impulse of a drunk steak head in a comedy club to walk up to the stage and pop a stand-up comic because he didn’t like a joke. A hyper-toxic powder keg moment that validates horrible behavior.— George Hahn (@georgehahn) March 28, 2022
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian.— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
People have been throwing rotten eggs and tomatoes at comedians for a long time but the next time it happens, people will no doubt fault Will Smith.
What about Jada?
Whilst people debated the right or wrong of the whole affair some had thoughts for Jada.
I’m over the toxicity of Chris Rock’s ableism and Will Smith’s violent and toxic response. At the other end of both of their behaviors is a Black woman managing alopecia, and the harm inflicted upon her by the entire situation. She was just trying to BE. *deep sigh*— Dr. Nef (@NefWalker) March 28, 2022
The Oscars never seem to escape controversy, at least this year their diversity problem will be overshadowed by a debate about whether the Academy should take away Will Smith’s Award.
Let’s not forget that Will Smith doesn’t need anyone’s permission to slap someone. Remember the time he slapped the reporter?