Yes, Will Smith Did Something Terrible. Can We Move On?

Photo of tweet revealing that Will Smith was banned from the Oscars. Monday, April 11 2022. In the photo there is a picture of Will Smith winning his last Oscar for the next 10 years. (Twitter/@filmupdates)

Photo of tweet revealing that Will Smith was banned from the Oscars. Monday, April 11 2022. In the photo there is a picture of Will Smith winning his last Oscar for the next 10 years. (Twitter/@filmupdates)

“The Slap Heard Around the World.” That is what media outlets are calling Will Smith’s surprising slap at the 2022 Oscars. The actor and former musical artist struck Chris Rock against the face after Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

These 10 words, “Jada, GI Jane two, can’t wait to see it.” sent Will Smith through the roof. 

Over the past year, Jada Pinkett Smith has been suffering from Alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes people to lose their hair. She showed up to the Oscars, with a stunning green dress and a shaved head. 

In Chris Rock’s joke, he referenced Demi Moore who played GI Jane, a soldier who also rocks the no-hair look. 

The slap, like the joke, was uncalled for and sent audience members and viewers into a storm of confusion. Many thought the slap was a joke until Will Smith cursed out Chris Rock on live television.

About an hour later, Will Smith received an award for his portrayal of King Richard, the main character in a movie about Venus and Serena William’s father. He compared himself to King Richard, claiming to be a protector and defender of his family. He also explained that “love will make you do crazy things.” 

When I watched this speech, I cringed and had second-hand embarrassment. He was trying to clean up the mess he had made and stood by his actions. His speech was a pathetic performance and clearly, Will Smith is at fault in this situation.

Junior Revanth Bandreddi, who also disagreed with Will Smith’s behavior, expressed to me that everything could have been handled better that night.

“The Academy should have had security to not even let him go up on stage,” Bandreddy said. “Even after that, they let him stay, which I do not agree with. They should have kicked him out or something. When he was giving his speech he should have apologized to Chris Rock.”

 Because of Smith’s actions, the Oscar board was forced to call a meeting to discuss Will Smith’s future with the Academy. It was supposed to be in the next three weeks, but nobody wanted to unnecessarily prolong his uncertain fate. 

As of Friday, April 8th, 2022, Will Smith is banned from the Oscars and cannot receive any awards for an entire decade. Will Smith is one of six who have been suspended from the Oscars. 

I asked Junior Haley Blankenship how she felt about the whole situation and she somewhat agreed with the punishment. She felt that Smith lost control, but understood his frustration and reaction.

 After what Chris Rock said on stage he deserved to be slapped,” Haley said. 

She wished that people would take all medical conditions seriously.

“Talking badly about someone’s condition that they can’t change is not okay,” Haley concluded.

Though she wondered why Will Smith would defend Jada Pinkett Smith and here’s why.

In 2020, Jada Pinkett Smith went on her “Red Table Talk” show with Will Smith and aired their dirty laundry to the whole world. Jada Pinkett Smith revealed that she had an affair with singer August Alsina during her marriage to Will Smith. 

She called it an entanglement, which like this event at the Oscars, sent the internet into a meme spiral. 

She explained that she was not sorry for her infidelity and that she was actually able to help and heal herself and Alsina. 

This made many people judge the Smiths. People called Jada a terrible person and others judged Will for staying with her. Those who judged Will viewed him as weak and “unmanly.” This is why some, myself included, think he slapped Chris Rock. One of my interviewees put it best,

“It was a way to prove his masculinity, you can really see this with the smile he has on his face after he smacked Chris Rock,” one longhorn commented. “I was disgusted.” 

Jada was also unimpressed with her husband’s actions at the Oscars. 

According to an anonymous source, Jada Pinkett Smith said that “she is not one of those women who needs protecting…she is not a wallflower.”

As his wife and friend, Jada will stand by him, but she did not support what he did. 

Her response is ironic on Will’s part and only makes his situation even more humiliating for him. 

He slapped Chris Rock to show his hate for Rock disrespecting his wife and now his wife is saying that Will’s actions were more disrespectful, as it has also been reported that the Smiths agree that Will overreacted.

What irks me about this whole situation is how the Oscars were overshadowed by Will Smith’s actions. I saw the, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” performance and it was amazing. The dancing and singing, along with the vibrant colors brought life into the room. 

Many amazing actors and actresses won awards as well. The first deaf man to win an Oscar won that night. But all of these amazing moments were rarely discussed.

 Will Smith took away the spotlight from many people.

Now, even though this slap was groundbreaking news, I wish it would just end. The jokes about the situation are not even funny anymore.

 His actions have brought about great discussions of self-control and the privilege of famous people, but I think people should be wary of judging the situation too much. 

Some of these critics need to get a life. The fact that CNN has even commented on it is just ridiculous; compared to other situations this news is nothing. 

If only people were this passionate and angered about the UN’s response to the Uighur Muslims who are dying in concentration camps. If only people were this saddened and concerned about the 40 something ongoing wars across the globe. If only people were this infuriated and engrossed by serious issues that plague our world.

The sad truth though is that as people we would rather distract ourselves with petty problems instead of tackling imminent issues.

Now, Will Smith’s slap struck up a lot of conversation for the world, but it’s over now. Let’s move on.