Will Smith’s “slapstick” at the Oscars


Graphic by Paul Moon

Paul Moon, Managing Editor

On March 28, the 94th Academy Awards was held in Dolby Theater in Hollywood. This annual award ceremony celebrates talent in the film industry and is widely considered the most prestigious award in the entertainment industry. However, any of the usual discussions regarding the awards, celebrity appearances, or performances were quickly overshadowed this year when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage after Rock made a joke about his wife.

“When I first saw a photograph of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars I was very shocked at the violence,” Riona Kim (10), a Will Smith fan, said. “I was a bit confused about who was more at fault because Chris Rock’s joke about Jada Smith’s baldness due to her condition was very rude, but violence is never okay.”

There are many people on both sides of this issue, as some people believe that Will Smith was in the right for defending his wife and that Chris Rock should not have made such an insensitive joke toward Jada Smith. However, many more argue that such insults are not a valid reason to use violence in any circumstance and that such arguments are invalid because Will Smith laughed at the joke before seeing his wife’s reaction.

“Will Smith definitely should not have slapped Chris Rock, and I think his reputation suffered afterward,” Ryan Jung (10), former Will Smith fan, said. “Also, the fact that he was asked to leave after the slap and refused to do so is weird. While I believe he should not have been dragged out by security due to his status as a respected actor, he still shouldn’t have stayed in the theater.” 

The night took another unexpected turn, as, after the slap, Will Smith won the prestigious award of best actor. What should have been the highest point in any actor’s career turned into an awkward moment as Will Smith started off his acceptance speech with a string of apologies to everybody present at the theater.

After the night, the Academy called Smith’s behavior “unacceptable and harmful” and banned him from the Oscars for 10 years. Will Smith has issued a formal apology on his social media expressing his regret over the slap, while Chris Rock has remained silent on this issue. While many believe that it is unlikely that Smith’s Oscar will be taken away, the investigation is still ongoing and the situation remains to be seen.