The moment Will Smith stormed onstage to whack Chris Rock in his face over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, will go down in Academy Awards history. While the joke, which made fun of Jada’s shaved head after the actress has been open about her alopecia diagnosis since 2018, seems to be offensive, Will Smith’s slap caught fans and showgoers off guard, which at first appeared to be improvised but turned out to be his real-life emotional outburst.
The night was further weirder by the fact that Smith won an Oscar for best actor less than an hour later for his performance on “King Richard,” and he spent most of his speech weeping, making excuses for his bad-tempered behavior and apologizing to his peers.
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.” At the end of his speech, he said “I hope the Academy invites me back.”
It goes without saying that Twitter was flooded with reactions to the slap, from jokes and memes to more serious messages. Let’s take a tour around Hollywood and check out the mixed reactions around the Oscars’ assault.
“Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers,” posted Mark Hamill.
“Violent physical assault… not so much,” He shared with the hashtag “UgliestOscarMomentEver”.
“Ummm… Whaaaat!??,” tweeted Dan Bucatinsky. “He justified his assault using tears and the word ‘love’…the one thing he did NOT do is apologize for slapping Chris Rock!!”