Will Smith’s Oscars Slap Takes Social Media by Storm


What should have been one of the greatest nights of Will Smith’s life was shattered when comedian Chris Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock said to Pinkett Smith, “G.I. Jane II, can’t wait to see it,” a reference to her lack of hair due to her alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. The surreality of one of the world’s greatest movie stars slapping another incredibly well known icon in front of millions of people is something that nobody could have predicted, and was frankly…astonishing. 


Following this unprecedented act, Smith won his first Oscar as “Best Actor,” for his performance in King Richard, where he plays Richard Williams, who as Smith described, was a “fierce defender of his family.” He remarked in his acceptance speech, “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.” He received a standing ovation.


Smith also apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his speech, and on the night of March 28 he apologized directly to Chris Rock in an Instagram post saying, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong…There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”


The Academy condemned Smith for slapping Rock, releasing a statement: “We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”


 Consequently, Will Smith’s slap overshadowed the awards, rapidly becoming the top headline. Everywhere you look on the internet, debates are being held about whether or not Smith will be asked to hand back his Oscar, with some claiming that his actions were “assault” and they shouldn’t be rewarded, and others arguing how the Academy has given awards to people with arguably worse offenses. Some people are also debating about whether or not Chris Rock deserved the slap in the first place.


As well as making headlines, the Oscars slap has also made itself onto social media as a meme. Examples include: inserting the music from Everybody Hates Chris into the video of Smith slapping Rock or making comparisons to trending cinematic fights, such as Maddy and Cassie from HBO’s Euphoria. 


All that being said, the question of what will happen to Will Smith as a result of his actions remains unanswered, but what followed this moment is almost as unbelievable as the moment itself and it definitely made this year’s Oscars very memorable.