Hollywood stars have mixed reactions to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. Rock took to the stage to present the Best Documentary award, cracking a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head, saying he can’t wait to see her in GI Jane 2 (like actress Demi Moore had her head shaved in the movie G.I. Jane). Pinkett-Smith opened up about her struggles with alopecia, a hair loss condition. Smith took umbrage at Rock’s joke, approaching the stage, walking up to Rock and slapping him before returning to his seat, yelling at the comedian, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
Many speculated that the exchange was staged, but Smith and Rock’s reactions, especially after the slap, turned out to be genuine. Rock pleaded it was a joke, while an angry Smith told Rock not to mention his wife again. Rock continued the presentation without incident. Less than ten minutes later, Smith won Best Actor for his performance in King Richard, taking the stage himself and delivering a moving, tear-filled speech. He apologized to the Academy for the slap, but not to Rock, saying: “Art imitates life. I look like a crazy dad, like they said…like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things .”
Fellow nominees and Academy Awards attendees reacted to the exchange, with many offering support between commercial breaks to Smith, who returned to his seat and remained for the rest of the show as if nothing were wrong. ‘was. The altercation caused a stir of mixed reactions across Hollywood, as stars and celebrities reacted later in the evening and into the next day, offering their feelings of approval, disapproval and shock downright at the surreal moment. . Check out some of Hollywood’s mixed reactions below:
Howard Stern (via Mediated):
Not a single person came out, because that’s Will Smith, that’s how Trump gets away with shit. Will Smith and Trump are the same guy. He decided he was going to take matters into his own hands. When the world is at war. Bad timing, man. Calm your fucking ass.
Whoopi Goldberg (via New York Post)
I think he overreacted. I would have been a little annoyed. I think he had one of those moments where it was just like, ‘GD it. Stopped.’ And you have all the pressure of hoping you’re going to win and trying to keep your face. I understand. Not everyone acts the way we would like under pressure. Some people crack. He snapped. What I mean is, it was remarkable, wonderful, that Chris Rock didn’t take him to this other place he could have gone. I don’t know if they spoke or apologized or not. All I know is that sometimes you get to a point where you misbehave. I myself have done wrong on occasion.
Tiffany Haddish (via People)
When I saw a black man defending his wife. It meant so much to me. As a wife, who has not been protected, someone saying, “Don’t say my wife’s name, leave my wife alone”, that’s what your husband is supposed to do, isn’t it? it not? Protect you. And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it happened, but to me it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there still have men who love and care about their wives, their wives. And he’s their friend. As a friend, why would you do that? He didn’t even prank her, but she got hurt, though. If she hadn’t been hurt, he probably wouldn’t have said anything. But you could see he was clearly… And they exploited him. They exploited her, so… He protected his wife. For me, I went up to her and said, ‘You better suck his dick from behind, girl!’ You better put that in your magazine! That’s what I told him.
Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv in Fresh Prince) (via TV line)
There’s only so much you can take…sometimes you have to slam back. Celebrate the win…nothing else matters. Both actions were incorrect but Chris didn’t need to go. I met him once…that was enough for me…very naughty.
Violence is not acceptable. Aggression is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, and tonight he went after his alopecia. Hitting someone’s autoimmune disease is a mistake. Doing it on purpose is cruel. They both need to breathe.
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) March 28, 2022
Tonight’s Oscars proved that Hollywood is alive and well, still doing what it does best: protecting and celebrating gross behavior! 🎥🎉
— Nikki Glaser (@NikkiGlaser) March 28, 2022
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) March 28, 2022
What a sad comment when you slap someone on live TV, win an Oscar, get a standing ovation, and then accept that Oscar that’s all about “love.” There was so much hurt about that moment. #Oscars2022 pic.twitter.com/D5iVIpqYiQ
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) March 28, 2022
I figure you can mug someone on live TV on stage at the Oscars and just sit back and watch the rest of the show.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) March 28, 2022
Will Smith owes Chris Rock a big apology. There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris isn’t filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullshit.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) March 28, 2022
Let me tell you something, it’s very bad practice to go on stage and physically assault a comedian.
Now we all have to wonder who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
Hey professional comedians: be warned! From now on, you need to make sure your jokes don’t offend people. Especially extremely attractive, famous and exorbitantly wealthy people!
—Richard Marx (@richardmarx) March 28, 2022
It was reported that the Academy held emergency Zoom meetings over the incident before releasing a statement saying they “do not tolerate any form of violence.” However, talks are reportedly underway about how to handle the situation, including whether to strip Smith of his Oscar for breaking new rules of the Code of Conduct for Academy members, nominees and attendees. It is unclear what action will be taken, if any. Rock told the Los Angeles Police Department that he did not want to press charges against Smith, but had otherwise remained tight-lipped about the incident.
Hollywood will no doubt have their take on the fiasco, while moviegoers and fans will have theirs too. For many, seeing a beloved celebrity slap someone for making a bad joke is seen as bad behavior that sets a bad precedent, while others may see it as justified action for an insult. Yet it raises legitimate questions about what should and should not be accepted in society, especially when using violence to resolve conflict. Ultimately, the public will decide how they react to Will Smith’s actions, which could positively or negatively affect the career of the actor in the future.
Next: Will Smith lose his Oscar for slapping Chris Rock?
Source: Mediaite, TVLine, People, Vulture, Deadline, Alan Ritchson, New York Post
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