Will Smith’s slap in the face of Chris Rock is causing a lot of talk in Hollywood. If the actor of “The Williams Method” received the support of stars like Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper, many personalities condemned the violence of his gesture.
Will Smith’s shocking gesture at the 2022 Oscars
The atmosphere suddenly cooled in the Dolby Theater on March 27, 2022, during the 94th Academy Awards. When he had just done Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia joke“ready for GI Jane 2 (On equal terms)”, Chris Rock interrupted himself when he saw Will Smith approaching him. Furious, the comedian of The Williams Method gave a violent slap to the comedian before returning to his place.
In front of a shocked audience, Will Smith then launched to Chris Rock:
Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!
A few minutes later, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and John Travolta presented the Best Actor trophy for the interpreter of Richard Williams. Overwhelmed with emotion during his speech, Will Smith offered a half-worded apology for his gesture. In tears, the star said:
Richard Williams was a staunch defender of his family. I am overwhelmed by what is happening to me. Love makes you do crazy things. My vocation is to love people and to protect them and to be an anchor for my loved ones. In this job, some will disrespect you and you have to smile, act like it’s normal. Denzel Washington just said to me, “Watch out, the devil always comes in moments of triumph.” I hope the Oscars will invite me back.
Support from Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper
A video uploaded by Scott Feinberg to Twitter shows Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry talking with Will Smith during a commercial break during the ceremony. After calming down his friend, the Oscar-winning actor Training Day visited Jada Pinkett Smith, shortly before the resumption of the evening. For his part, Will Smith was also able to count on the support of Bradley Cooper, who took the time to comfort him during an exchange marked by several hugs.
Asked by People at the Governor’s Ball, Tiffany Haddish meanwhile welcomed the gesture of Will Smith :
As a wife, who hasn’t been protected, someone saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your mouth,” that’s what your husband’s supposed to do, isn’t it? That means everything to me. And maybe the world might not like the way it happened but to me it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it showed me that there still have men who love and care about their wives, their wives.
A “surreal” moment
Many personalities reacted to this moment which made a lot of talks. During an interview for variety Lakeith Stanfield said:
I don’t know, it was crazy. It was surreal.
On Twitter, Sophia Bush has condemned the slap of Will Smith, but also the joke of Chris Rock :
Violence is not acceptable. Aggression is never the answer. (…) This is the second time that Chris Rock has made fun of Jada on the Oscars stage, and tonight he attacked her alopecia. Attacking someone’s autoimmune disease is a mistake. Doing it on purpose is cruel.
Quoted by Evening Standard Judd Apatow wrote in a since-deleted tweet:
He could have killed him. It’s pure uncontrollable rage and violence. They (Will and Jada Pinkett Smith) have heard a million jokes about them over three decades. They are not freshmen in the Hollywood landscape and humor. He lost his mind.
A slap was also castigated by Cary Elwes, Mia Farrow, Rob Reiner, and Mark Hamill, who called the sequence the “ugliest moment in Oscars history”. Conversely, Jaden Smith showed his support for his parents on the social network.