The Twitterverse has been abuzz over the slap heard around the world at Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony.
Comedian and award presenter Chris Rock made a joke about the bald head of Jada Pinkett Smith, who was seated in the front row of the audience with her husband, actor Will Smith. She suffers from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
“Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see ya,” Rock said in a reference to the 1997 film in which actress Demi Moore appeared with a shaved head.
After the comment, Smith walked onto the stage and smacked Rock in the face.
But that wasn’t his initial response to the joke.
When Rock made his wisecrack, the camera immediately turned to Smith — who was laughing for at least four seconds.
His wife, however, was not laughing. Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and looked over at her husband as the camera cut away.
Did anyone else realize that Will Smith was laughing at the joke until Jada gave him the side eye? pic.twitter.com/vwvo5U1Ayf
— char (@charvontay1) March 28, 2022
Seconds later, Smith was seen storming the stage and slapping Rock.
What happened in the meantime?
What could explain the attack after Smith’s laughter? Did his wife tell him to go get even for her?
The video certainly undermines the idea that the actor was offended and had to defend his wife’s honor.
Can we quit acting like Will was all “offended” by the joke. He literally was laughing at the joke until his cheating wife rolled her eyes. This woman is gonna ruin Will before it’s all over. pic.twitter.com/ZoVWA0wymm
— Suaerp (@Preaus) March 28, 2022
Looked like he was laughing at the joke
— $teve (@stevebballin) March 28, 2022
But Jada wasn’t and realized he needed to do something or she was going to tear him apart after the show
— CryptoGonzo (@anonzed06) March 28, 2022
Rock recovered from the blow instantly and told the audience, “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me!”
The vulgarity was censored on the broadcast, as were those that followed.
After Smith had returned to his seat, he yelled at the comedian, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!”
Rock replied, “Wow, dude, it was a ‘G.I. Jane’ joke,” to which Smith shouted once again, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!”
“I’m going to, OK?” he responded.
Smith later won the Oscar for best actor for his role in “King Richard.” When he took the stage to accept his award, he apologized to the Academy for his behavior, but not to Rock.
Some viewers thought Smith’s slap was a publicity stunt.
Definitely setup. Slap didn’t make impact plus Will was laughing right before then. He did sell the aftermath yelling at him very well though! Good acting there
— Shaun (@shaun_p_adams) March 28, 2022
Just a fake routine to try and get ratings / buzz going. Obviously worked very well.
— Vaya (@VayaDFS) March 28, 2022
Will Smith was laughing? What made him change his mind to go from “Oh wow, this is funny” to “I’m going to punch and curse you out on live television.”
Sorry, that’s staged. They need the ratings and knew this would get it some internet buzz.
— TJ Epting (@te6192) March 28, 2022
Many other viewers wondered how Smith could get away with assaulting Rock. A roomful of people had just witnessed an assault, and nobody did anything.
The fact that Will Smith wasn’t kicked out of the Oscars and arrested for assaulting Chris Rock shows how Hollywood allows, enables, and celebrates the very worst behaviors.
Workplace violence isn’t tolerated in normal industries.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) March 28, 2022
Unfortunately, that’s not the first time in Harvey Weinstein country that a room full of actors saw someone being assaulted and nobody said or did anything.
— charlie ⚾️ (@bbqchucken) March 28, 2022
The answer, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, is that Rock “declined to file a police report.”
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the department said, according to Variety. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
Others on Twitter made it into a racial issue.
me counting all the white racists jumping on will smith and being fake upset on Twitter …y’all can’t be real pic.twitter.com/udrQ4AXIzm
— 𝐽𝐴𝑌 is streaming🔩𝑀𝐴𝑁𝐼𝐴𝐶🔩 (@HYUNJINLOVESJAY) March 28, 2022
So let me get this straight: A black celebrity walks onto stage and commits assault on live television, suffers no consequence at all, is handed an award 45 minutes later, and this is all evidence of… white privilege. Got it. Okay. Makes sense. https://t.co/GXtKy1e50U
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 28, 2022
White ppl riled up fr, will smith put hands on one of like 7 black ppl they like😭
— Zach 🌍 (@NAACPYOUNGBOY) March 28, 2022
There are so many intracommunal/intraracial layers to that Will Smith-Chris Rock scenario that are just indecipherable to white folks trying to broadstroke paint Will as a domestic abuser. It’s okay to not have the range and to listen/heed people who do.
— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) March 28, 2022
A reminder: The issue in this country is not race. It’s the hypocritical elites vs. the rest of us.