Community Reacts to An Eventful Night At the Oscars

In a nationwide scandal, actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.


Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD, CA – March 27, 2022. Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the show at the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

Jade Garcia, Social Media Editor

On Sunday, Mar. 27, actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face, live on the stage of the annual Academy Awards ceremony, commonly known as the Oscars.

The Oscars are a big night for the many famous faces of Hollywood today, but  the 94th annual Oscars were quite controversial. During Rock’s presentation for the “Best Documentary” award, Smith walked onstage and proceeded to slap Rock across the face after he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. After sitting back down, Smith repeatedly yelled profanities 

Questions immediately began circulating about whether the incident was intended to be a PR stunt, but it was later revealed that the slap was unstaged when Smith issued an apology to both Rock and The Academy.  The situation sparked a nationwide controversy, as viewers argued about whether Smith’s actions were justified.

Sophomore Elizabeth Ferenczi spoke about her views on the situation between Rock and Smith.

“I think Chris Rock was doing his job as a comedian. It’s normal to get backlash when making jokes, but I don’t think violence was something that was expected at such a prestigious ceremony,” Ferenczi said. “ I understand Smith was trying to defend his wife because she was uncomfortable with the joke, but I also feel like he should’ve been more aware of his environment and could have chosen to talk to Rock after the show.”

Many feel that violence is never the right answer to such a situation, especially when it is being broadcasted live around the world.  ARP teacher Alina Gonzalez agreed when she watched back the footage after hearing so much discussion about the incident.

“Will Smith’s initial reaction was to laugh at the joke. [Considering that] he is a comedian himself, he should understand that it was a joke that was made and wasn’t intended to be super personal,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of people, including kids, look up to Will Smith because he’s a successful actor and a role model to them. To go and slap somebody in the face like that really sets a poor example and indirectly saying that it’s okay to act upon situations with violence. It could have been handled in a personal conversation off stage, not live on national TV.”

While some believe that this situation should’ve been handled differently on Smith’s part, junior Susie Gascon believes that Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, should have spoken up about it herself. 

“Yes, he was defending his wife against a joke that was made against her, but he could’ve asked her what she thought was right for him to do in that situation since the comment was made about her,” Gascon said. “Not only is it teaching people the wrong things, but it gives a wrong impression of the man that Smith is. It portrays the idea of toxic masculinity because it seemed he was in control of the whole situation when it pertained to his wife.”

Many different celebrities can be seen reacting to the slap live on television, but others such as Zoë Kravitz, Jimmy Kimmel, Nicki Minaj, and more, have spoken out on social media regarding the situation.

In an Instagram post that is now taken down along with the account, Kravitz’ caption read, “Here’s my dress at the award show where we are apparently assaulting people on stage now.” This particular post got a lot of attention and mainly backlash. As Kravitz makes light of her opinion, others are still debating on what they believe is right.

Since then, Smith has resigned from The Academy and can no longer attend nor have access to the Academy’s events.