It was the slap seen around the world.
Unless you were already fast asleep and not scrolling through the Twitter firestorm, in a shocking turn of events, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars Sunday night.
Here’s a quick recap — Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia, something she has talked publicly about on social media, to which husband Smith took offence and promptly went on stage to give Rock a big live TV slap.
If you haven’t seen the footage, give it a watch here.
For context, Rock has been criticized for his degrading takes on Black women before. And this isn’t his first time picking on Pinkett-Smith. At the 2016 Oscars, during the #oscarssowhite controversy, Pinkett-Smith decided to sit out in protest. Rock joked that she was only boycotting because she wasn’t invited.
Attendees and fans watching the 94th Academy Awards were stunned at first, not sure if what they were seeing was a bit, or real.
Fellow Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, DJ Jazzy Jeff live-tweeted his reaction to the incident.
“What was that???” he said.
What was that????
— DJ Jazzy Jeff the Tutor (@djjazzyjeff215) March 28, 2022
But when Smith returned to his seat and began yelling “Keep my wife’s name out your f*cking mouth,” people knew it was no staged joke.
- You might also like:
- 9 biggest snubs, surprises, and slaps from last nights Oscar's ceremony
- Oscars 2022: The red carpet's best, most beautifully dressed celebrities (PHOTOS)
- Oscars shocker: Chris Rock sucker punched on stage by Will Smith (VIDEO)
And from there, the Twitter hot takes rolled in.
I can no longer pretend I am not reading all these hot takes
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 28, 2022
The discourse has certainly been abundant.
we finna get thinkpieced straight to the ancestral plane this week
— fun fact: (@clintonyates) March 28, 2022
There are people who pointed out the assault and toxic masculinity displayed in the incident.
That speech was so confusing … making that about protecting your family “like Richard Williams”?! And was Chris Rock supposed to be the devil, there?
PS “Love will make you do crazy things” is language often used by abusive people
— Elise Hu (@elisewho) March 28, 2022
I’m tripping that you can assault someone on live television on stage at the Oscars and just take your seat and watch the rest of the show.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) March 28, 2022
Seeing a lot of hot takes on what happened between Chris Rock and Will Smith at #Oscars and I GET IT.
It is the most intense thing to ever happen on that stage.
But the whole incident, from top to bottom, was toxic masculinity. Neither of those dudes are the good guy here.
— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) March 28, 2022
Comedian Judd Apatow went so far as to say Smith “could have killed” Rock.
After reading through all the hot takes, I have come to the conclusion that this right here is the hottest take of the night pic.twitter.com/tGYVEh2PdJ
— Asia Jackson (@aasian) March 28, 2022
there is solace in knowing that no take will be crazier than “he could’ve killed him”
— rob harvilla (@harvilla) March 28, 2022
Others defended Smith’s actions and pointed out how Black women have been “unprotected and the butt of the joke” for too long.
“violence isn’t the answer” when I lived in the Philippines, a classmate called me n***er while we were on the way to school. I had a textbook in my hand & rocked his shit so hard that he asked his mom to switch shuttles & never spoke to me again. violence WAS the answer actually pic.twitter.com/QqAGoxSmYC
— Asia Jackson (@aasian) March 28, 2022
People are so used to Black women being unprotected & the butt of the joke that I think a lot of this shock is really about her being treated as someone who deserved protection & I wish more of y’all would see someone for those misogynoir issues
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) March 28, 2022
as a society more people should realize they could get punched at any moment for speaking/moving out of pocket
— rona (@theronalisa) March 28, 2022
Some Twitter users pointed out the hypocrisy of Rock’s joke since the comedian made a documentary titled Good Hair about Black women’s relationship with their hair.
… it’s ironic how Chris Rock made a whole documentary about Black women called “Good Hair” but then gets smacked for making fun of a Black woman’s hair.
— 𝕮𝖔𝖚𝖗𝖙 𝕶𝖎𝖒 💥 (@TheCourtKim) March 28, 2022
Jaden Smith also tweeted in support of his dad.
And That’s How We Do It
— Jaden (@jaden) March 28, 2022
One Twitter user gave historical context, responding to actress Mia Farrow’s now-deleted tweet calling it the “ugliest Oscar moment ever.”
Oscars was where a Native American woman was boo’d while asking for equality. Where Blackface and Yellowface was celebrated. Where Michael Moore was boo’d for trying to stop genocide in Iraq and child rapists were given awards. Can we not do this. https://t.co/W9uoZOeH6R
— Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) March 28, 2022
And others highlighted that there are multiple truths about what happened last night.
Assault is wrong.
Alopecia is a painful experience that many Black women go through and should not be joked about.
The concept of being ‘the protector’ can be a form of toxic masculinity.
Black women are rarely protected and deserve to be protected.
— Amanda Parris (@amanda_parris) March 28, 2022
And of course, there were the people who resorted to jokes and memes to cope with what they just saw.
— Zach Schiffman (@schlife) March 28, 2022
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) March 28, 2022
That’s why he got sent to Bel-Air in the first place. Shit like that.
— Zito (@_Zeets) March 28, 2022
Suddenly Chris rock shows up in the in memoriam
— broti gupta (@BrotiGupta) March 28, 2022
While the debate is ongoing about whether what Smith did was warranted or not, there’s one thing fans can all agree on.
We are all Lupita Nyong’o.
we are all lupita pic.twitter.com/3ZwASoGqHF
— anthony christian ocampo 🇵🇭🏳️🌈 (@anthonyocampo) March 28, 2022