In This Corner, Will Smith


I can’t say I watched the Academy Awards Sunday night, but I repeatedly replayed the video of actor Will Smith going up on stage and slapping comedian Chris Rock when Rock made a joke about looking forward to seeing Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, starring in GI-Jane 2.

If you don’t know the reference, the actress Demi Moore—famously hot at the time (1997)—famously shaved her head as a marine recruit in the not-very-good-movie GI-Jane. Flash forward twenty-five years: Jada Pinkett Smith has a shaved head because she suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes baldness in women.

People seem divided about whether Will was justified or not assaulting a comedian on stage—comedians occasionally make tasteless and unfunny jokes, but probably shouldn’t fear for their safety because of it.

After slapping Rock, Smith returned to his seat and cursed him out. See the full 1:23 here:

What I’m wondering—and what no one has mentioned—is that in the instant after Rock made his joke, the camera showed Will and Jada—and Will is laughing, while Jada looks uncomfortable. The camera then cuts to Rock and the next thing we see is Smith marching up and slapping him.

The moment Chris Rock cracks his joke, Will Smith is laughing.

What happened in those few seconds? Did Smith see his wife’s expression or did she say something to him that made him realize he shouldn’t be laughing and so he overdoes it in the other direction and attacks Rock? That’s what I think happened.

And if you’re going to do that, Will, if you’re going to get all puffed up and defend your wife, at least be a man about it. Don’t slap the guy—take him out. Show us a combination or a hook or cool kung-fu sequence that puts Rock on the floor. Instead, you did it half-assed. Chris was hardly fazed by your little slap. I didn’t even see any blood.

So you screwed up, Will, in two ways: you laughed when your wife was mocked, and then you slapped when you should have kicked ass. At least you won the Academy Award for best actor.

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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