Opinion: The Oscar Slap Heard ‘Round The World

Opinion: The Oscar Slap Heard Round The World

Jaadler Jameau, Staff Reporter

Chris Rock and Will Smith are both internationally famous African-American men. During the 2022 Oscar ceremony,  Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Will Smith was so distraught from the joke, he went up and slapped Rock across the face on live television and cursed him out after returning to his seat. While Will Smith’ s reaction and actions were uncalled for, we cannot blame Will Smith entirely for what occurred. Instead, we should be looking at Chris Rock.

We need more context to discuss this situation. Chris Rock and Will Smith are some of the most famous black stars in the world. Both of them are not especially close, however they are acquaintances. Friends or acquaintances should respect each other, especially during an event that’s being aired on national television. Chris Rock went and instigated Will Smith’s reaction on his own.

Chris Rock is a comedian, and humor can be funny without being insensitive. The joke against Will Smith’s wife went too far. Jada Pinkett Smith has Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder which causes a person’s hair to fall out. Chris Rock, instead of respecting her condition, made a joke calling her “G.I. Jane”. (G.I. Jane was a film centered around a woman trying out for the elite Navy SEALS unit who shaves her head in a symbolic gesture to show her equality with the men.)

Was Will Smith’s reaction over the top or was it egged on?

Imagine a friend of yours made fun of your wife, let alone one of her health conditions in front of national television for millions of people to see. Chris Rock did not hesitate to tell the joke, nor did he consider how Will Smith would have felt about it. Will Smith’s reaction was definitely over the top. However, Chris Rock embarrassed Jada in front of friends, family, fans and viewers alike. One could even say Chris Rock knew what he did was wrong.

Reportedly, Rock was asked if he wanted to file an assault charge against Smith but declined. Why would Chris Rock decline the assault charge? One possible answer is that he feels regret for what he said. I would absolutely feel regret too if I was Chris Rock. Hopefully, Chris Rock learns how to better himself from what happened at the Oscars.