[Opinion] Will Smith was out of line to hit Chris Rock at the Oscars


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Actor and singer Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock at Oscars after he satrically referred to Jada Pinkett Smith as GI Jones. Smith will face undeclared consequences.

Isabel White, Section editor

Will Smith was out of line to hit Chris Rock at the Oscars

On Sunday, March 27, the 94th Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars, took place. The Oscars is a dramatic ceremony that honors film work with nominations, predictions and winners along with a red carpet fashion show. However, this year, chaos quickly unfolded towards the conclusion of the awards ceremony.

Comedian Chris Rock entered the stage at the Oscars to present the award for “Best Documentary Feature” with a more satirical approach. Before presenting the award, Rock nipped at actor Will Smith’s wife, actress and singer Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzz cut hairstyle by comparing her to “GI Jane,” Demi Moore’s fictional character in the 1997 film.

“Jada, I love you- I can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” Rock said.

Pinkett Smith unfortunately suffers from alopecia, a disease that causes sudden hair loss in the form of bald patches which resulted in her decision to shave her head last year.

After Rock’s joke, which the audience found amusing along with Smith who initially laughed, Pinkett Smith is shown next to Smith disgusted, shaking her head in disbelief. Then, the camera immediately switches to Rock on stage with Smith entering the stage furiously towards him. Next thing you know, Smith slaps Rock across the face causing him to stumble backwards with shock.

“Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” Rock said.

Smith simply walked back to his seat with a scowl and furrowed eyebrows after his smack. He began to outburst comments toward Rock which was censored on television, but leaked footage of what he said shows his rude comments.

“Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth,” Smith said twice.

Rock reacted to the situation like a champion with calmness. He did not fight back; he simply proceeded to present the award.

On top of all the prior chaos, approximately 40 minutes later, Smith was declared winner of his first Oscar for “Best Actor” in playing Richard Williams for the film “King Richard.” When accepting his award, Smith performed his speech with heavy tears and apologized to the Academy and other nominees, emphasizing that, similar to Richard Williams, he protects the ones he loves.

“I want to apologize to the Academy,” Smith said. “I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”

However, in his speech, Smith fails to apologize to Rock. After the ceremony later that night, Smith commented on his own instagram post, “You can’t invite people from Philly or Baltimore nowhere!!” Smith was born in Philadelphia, as Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore.

Several people want Smith’s Oscar taken away as punishment for his aggression. On the other hand, tickets to see Rock on tour have skyrocketed since the incident.

It is only the next day when Smith directly apologizes to Rock in an instagram post. However, if Smith was so upset about Rock’s joke, then why was he laughing initially? It is suggested that he only reacted with such aggression due to Pinkett Smith’s disgust.

Rock has yet to publicly accept Smith’s apology, but he declined to press charges. Though Smith has apologized, he was definitely out of line for hitting Rock. Smith made the entire night about himself due to a joke that he initially found comedic. He took attention away from all other accomplishments of the night.

Rock is known to make dark humorous jokes that tend to jab at others. It’s all fun and games and Rock did not even say anything too offensive to equate to him getting slapped.

The Academy Awards are currently looking at potential consequences for Smith’s unacceptable behavior. It is unclear what his punishment will be, but people are expecting Smith to receive some form of backlash for his intolerance.

Williams, the star Smith played in “King Richard,” claims in a NBC News statement, “We don’t know all the details of what happened. But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.”

This contradicts Smith’s prior statement being similar to Williams, as Williams’ statement suggests he does not support Smiths’ actions. Though Rock could have avoided a joke like this, the slap was not equivalent to his comment.