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Let’s Talk About the Aftermath of Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Yup, we are going to talk about the slap heard all around the world, again. 

You’ve most likely been seeing the immaculate memes Twitter has in store, all the Instagram reels, TikTok mashing the audio with hype songs, or any other form of the interaction between Will Smith and Chris Rock. If not, here is your summary of what will go down as one of the most memorable events in the history of the Oscars.

The 94th Academy Awards, the biggest celebration for films, movies and all the people involved in creating the magical experience we call cinema was on March 27. It has been regarded as the highest award a movie can receive and the ceremony is globally popular. It is a night of extravagant red carpet dresses, all the big stars under the same roof and an emotional moment for the winners, whether it is their first time winning or third. 

Instead of a ceremony that should be about spreading love and recognition to creators, the Oscars were boiled down to the physical altercation between superstar Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock. Rock, who is a comedian specializing in dark humor, made a joke about Smith’s wife’s— Jada Pinkett Smith’s—bald head due to alopecia. Smith was initially seen laughing at the joke with others, but as soon as he saw his wife’s melancholic and stoic face, he retaliated. Smith walked up to the stage and then proceeded to slap (quite hard, might I add) Rock and walked off the stage, back to his seat. He started shouting, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth,” several times at Rock afterward.

If you are reading about this for the first time, your reaction is probably similar to the audience of the Oscars: STUNNED. Many people were still having a hard time deciphering whether that was staged or a pure raw reaction from Smith. As people were processing what had just happened, Rock presented the Best Documentary Feature award. Within a span of 15 minutes, Rock went from being smacked by Smith to giving the award he was cordially invited to present.

When I read the headline on Instagram, I was like, “No way, that has to be staged.” But after a few days of the event and an official apology from Smith, we do indeed know it was not staged and completely real. Will Smith had really slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. 

You must be wondering, “How many times will this girl say Will Smith slapped Chris Rock?” That is because it is not every day you see an A-list celebrity lose his cool and physically assault another celebrity at the Oscars, which was being broadcast live, internationally. It is important that he is held accountable for assaulting a man on live television. Violence is never the answer and will never be the answer. 

There were many ways this situation could have been handled. The Smith family could have privately dealt with it after the show, having a private conversation with Rock about the joke. Smith could have personally talked to Rock at the Vanity After Party and had a meaningful conversation with him and his problem with the joke. If Smith was that infuriated, he could have even ranted on Twitter and tagged Rock there. 

Moreover, the last two years have been a roller coaster for the Smith family. Will and Jada have had plenty of personal information released about their marriage: information that has shaken up the public’s viewpoint of the couple.  From their “open” marriage to Jada’s “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina, all we know about their controversial marriage has been against our will; and people on the internet are resurfacing it again in light of Will Smith’s latest action. Cosmopolitan even released a timeline for all the people confused about their marriage and relationship and how it pertains to this exact moment. 

Well, Smith is now definitely feeling the brunt of his actions. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors decided to ban Will Smith from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years due to his actions at the recent Oscars. And people have mixed opinions about this punishment. Some people are applauding the decision as it establishes a strict punishment for physical assault. Whereas others are criticizing and compare the punishment to other events. One person tweeted out how Will Smith’s punishment is more severe than the people who are part of the insurrection in the capital on Jan. 6. 

On the other hand, Rock has been silent. He has not released any statement or posted anything. Although, after this incident, his show prices increased immensely (Rock is on his “Ego Death” stand-up world tour). As suspected, people are curious and want to know how he feels about the incident. In his latest show, he has said that he is still processing the event and will speak about it in his upcoming show. He promised his audience that the conversation will be serious, yet funny. 

A Neuroscience major, minoring in Communication, Aseya has spent half her life in Bangladesh before moving to the States. When she is not busy watching TikTok, you can often find her studying and stressing about the future :)
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