Rock Em' Sock Em' Smith
Throughout the years, the Oscars have had their fair share of drama, but this year's Oscars put the cherry on top of the cake. Hundreds of talented stars gathered together on Sunday, March 27th at the Dolby Theater located in Los Angeles California, to celebrate the Oscars. Comedian and actor Chris Rock was the presenter for the Documentary Feature Award. Rock is well known for his role voicing Marty in the Madagascar franchise, playing Kurt McKenzie in Grown-Ups, and playing Zeke Banks in Spiral: The Book Of Saw. He is also well known for his career as a comedian.
Along with Rock, another famous actor and rapper, Will Smith, attended the ceremony. Smith is well known for his lead role in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Focus, and his most recent role which was nominated at the Oscars King Richard. He attended this year's Oscars accompanied by his wife Jada Pinkett. Pinkett has an autoimmune disease called Alopecia, which causes her to have a limited amount of hair. Pinkett is bald and has been very open and honest throughout the years about her Alopecia. She is not ashamed of it and tries to empower others with it to not be ashamed or embarrassed.
The night was off to a great start with awards being presented, and speeches being given. Towards the end of the show, Rock made a jokeat Pinkett about her Alopecia stating “Jada can't wait for G.I. Jane 2.” (G.I. Jane is a movie featuring a woman who shaves her head, leaving her bald to attend a training program for the military.)
After hearing the joke Pinkett immediately rolled her eyes and looked away. Smith began laughing at the joke until he noticed his wife's reaction. After realizing his wife was visibly annoyed, Smith got up from his seat and took to the stage. A raging Smith walked up to Rock and slapped him in the face, then walked back to his seat. Rock visibly confused did not know what to do he simply stood on stage frozen, and then stated: “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.” While Rock was trying to make a joke out of it, it was evident he did not take it lightly.
After Smith sat back down he then began to scream “keep my wife's name out your F****** mouth.” He then repeated that once more. After his rampage of verbal abuse halted to a stop, Rock replied “I'm going to, ok?” Still trying to brush it off acting as if he was unbothered.
Prior to this event Smith and Rock had no issues in the past and they had even worked with one another on productions. Their work relationship was described as collegial and friendly. Previous to this, Pinkett and Rock had also worked together and had a very healthy work relationship. So many were surprised at the reaction to the joke.
With the crowd astonished, no one knew how this went south so quickly. The show then continued, with Smith later winning best actor for King Richard. Smith took the stage and began to apologize for the embarrassment he had caused. With tears streaming down his face, he explained his regret.
After the Oscars were complete Rock was offered to press charges on Smith, to which he declined. Immediately after the event took place news outlets, social media, and newspapers all had the issue as their top story. Many people were speculating this was fixed for the Oscars to obtain more attention because they have gone down drastically in the past years. This year the Oscars pulled 16.6 million viewers, which was their second-lowest result in history. The network believes viewers have simply lost interest in the ceremony.
Some conspiracy theorists thought the event between Rock and Smith was staged, while others believe it was completely real. Thousands of people went to social media and were skeptical of Smith's laughter at the joke, believing he was not fazed, but would have problems with Pinkett later if he did not make a move and stand up for her. Sides have also been taken, with few believing Rock was in the wrong for making the joke and the majority believing Smith was in the wrong.
Some individuals took to social media believing Smith acted this way because Pinkett and Smith already have a rocky relationship, and he wanted to make it look to the public eye as if they were fine. These individuals feel Smith tried showing that by defending his wife. Throughout the years Pinkett and Smith have been known to have their fair share of relationship issues with Pinkett cheating on Smith numerous times. Pinkett later addressed the rumors explaining she and Smith are in an open relationship. Many people who worked with Smith as well as his fans were worried he was being psychologically abused by Pinkett. Smith has denied this.
Smith later took to his social media platforms to publicly apologize stating “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night's academy awards was unacceptable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”
He then went on to state “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I was to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees, and everyone watching around the world. I would also like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has strained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will.”
After Smith’s apology, the news outlets and media sources began to slowly die down, and there is not much coverage on the incident now. Although Smith did get consequences for his actions. The Oscars board of governors met and decided to ban Smith from the Oscars for ten years. Smith can return to the Oscars in 2032. Along with the ten-year Oscars ban Smith also lost movie and show contracts. He has also been put on hold for his current films, and he lost a lot of credibility among his fans and other celebrities. The consequences for Smith are detrimental to his career, and many fans do not believe they will sit through another movie featuring Smith again. GEO News showed a Twitter post from a once Smith fan stating “Dear HBO: Stop promoting Will Smith movies. He's a disgrace to the industry & poor representative of family values.”
After rewatching the scene, reading articles on it, and listening to others' feelings I believe what happened was unnecessary. Although Rock should not have made that joke, Pinkett has come out numerous times explaining she is not fazed by what people say about her disease and is proud to be herself. In a Tik Tok video, she stated, “I don't give two craps what people feel about this bald head of mine.”
This still does not give Rock an advantage to make jokes like this, but he was doing it to other celebrities, not just Pinkett. I believe there were other ways Smith could have handled the issue such as pulling Rock aside after the show was over or simply calling him out in a more respectful manner. I don't believe it was necessary to go onto the stage and physically go after him, then verbally attack him. I feel they were both in the wrong, but Smith was more so in the wrong because he got physical.
I also believe Pinkett should have stopped Smith, instead of sitting there and letting it happen. I believe she should have done something in order to prevent her husband from doing this, and not only make a mockery of himself but also in front of other celebrities and on national television. Pinkett should have told Smith they would resolve it with Rock later, or Pinkett herself should have told Rock to not make that joke, due to the sensitivity around the disease.
Overall, I feel the whole situation could have been prevented and could have been handled differently. Smith will have a long road ahead of him trying to get his fans, and people across the country to forget about this moment. Smith and Rock are civil now and claim there are no hard feelings. All anyone can hope for is that next year's Oscars are not as chaotic as this year.