Will Smith’s Slap Was Inexcusable | National Review

Will Smith’s Slap Was Inexcusable | National Review

Will Smith (R) hits Chris Rock as Rock spoke on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif., March 27, 2022. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

I wasn’t watching in real time last night as I am not typically on Oscars viewer, but it was difficult to be online and avoid The Slap discourse. For a more thorough analysis, I would recommend reading Kyle’s piece on the main page. But I would just want to quickly weigh in and say, there is absolutely no excuse for what Will Smith did to Chris Rock.

Defenders of Smith’s point out that that Rock had joked about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith before, and that she has a medical condition that made her lose her hair and so Rock’s G.I. Jane 2 joke was out of bounds. In this view of things, standing up for his wife’s honor justified the slap.

Whatever one thinks about the quality of Rock’s joke or his decision to go there, Smith’s action is in no way justifiable. If you’re at an event where a comedian is telling jokes, you have to accept the fact that he may say something that you find offensive, and there’s an off chance it will be directed at you. This is even more the case when it’s an event where a lot of the jokes, by nature, involve teasing members of the celebrity audience. In this context, it is not akin to being at a bar and hitting somebody talking about your wife. It’s closer to losing money at the blackjack table and slugging the dealer.

As one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for decades, Will Smith has earned hundreds of millions of dollars appearing in movies. But the flip side of being a celebrity and enjoying that fame and fortune is that some people may tell jokes at your expense. And you just have to roll with it.

As Kyle writes, Rock deserves credit for maintaining his cool after getting assaulted, and being able to joke about it literally within seconds. That’s how a seasoned professional should actually behave.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.