April 2, 2022

The Will Smith Slap

It is bizarre that I just finished reading Will Smith’s autobiography last week and then he slapped the shit out of Chris Rock at the Oscars just a few days later. I thought it was worth posting about anyway.

Everybody has to weigh in on whether they think the whole thing was staged or not. I am torn. I think it is absolutely possible that it was real… real emotion and a spur of the moment decision by Will Smith. However, Rock’s reaction to the slap felt prepared. The slap itself looked fake. However, the shouting and then the awkward transition into the documentary award seemed genuine. At that point Rock looked visibly shaken. I don’t know what to make of it all. I could go either way. I’m 50/50.

So what insight did I get from Smith’s autobiography? I will say that he felt like he had done a disservice to Jada in their marriage. Will acknowledged that he was too focused on his own goals and ambitions that he didn’t appreciate how his wife felt and what she wanted.

This sentiment fits with the reaction to Rock’s joke. Initially he laughed. Will thought it was funny. Then he looked at Jada and realized she was not happy. Only then did he take offense and decide to administer the slap. He felt like he needed to defend her. It was “on brand” with how he felt he had failed her in the past based on my reading of his book.

At the same time it feels completely insane that he would choose that moment to defend his wife over something so trivial. The host of the Oscars is there to make jokes. Why would Will make such a big scene? In that respect it felt very immature from Will, but he is also a fan of large over-the-top gestures.

There is also the fact that the Oscars has had terrible ratings that have been getting worse year over year. I love movies and the Oscars would be a whole event for me 10 years ago. I haven’t watched live in the last 4 years. I am content to catch up with a YouTube video of the best parts. It could be great for ratings if something insane happened during the broadcast.