The Slap Heard Around the World

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars because of a Joke

The Oscars used to be an event that brought the attention of millions of people across the U.S. and the rest of the globe; famous actors would be nominated for producing or being a part of hit movies and shows, and if they won they would be immersed in more fame and glory. Within the past several years viewership has gone down, but recently there was a large spike in viewers– why?

Chris Rock– famous comedian and actor, was the presenter in a segment of the show, and during his time on stage he cracked several jokes at the expense of the audience. One of the people whom he went after was Jada Pinkett Smith– wife of famous actor, Will Smith. 

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it!”

The cameraman then zoomed in on both Will and Jada, where one could see that Will was laughing, whereas his wife wasn’t as amused. This being because Jada Smith has a medical condition called Alopecia, which triggers immune cells to attack hair follicles, resulting in balding. Chris Rock then decided to move on, but was surprised to see Will Smith walk on stage, promptly smack him across the face, and return back to his seat. During Rock’s state of bewilderment, Smith continued by saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth!”

Regardless of the event, Chris Rock managed to maintain his composure, and kept the show moving forward. Later that night, Will Smith– amongst many other actors, won an Oscar. Some believe that the whole situation was staged in order to up the view count, whereas others believe that the heated moment was in fact, genuine, based on Rock’s response. Whether an act or not, Will Smith sent out an apology, “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

The whole situation was very jarring to many people, and the Academy stated that they were reviewing the incident and seeing what consequences could be brought in. This controversy has resurfaced the argument of whether or not comedians are allowed to make jokes at the expense of others, and has been the talking point of the internet for several days; some believe that this day could have a lasting effect on the way people perform and express themselves in the form of comedy.

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