It was the slap heard around the world. On Sunday, comedian Chris Rock took the stage at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony and delivered a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s newly shaven head resembling G.I. Jane. Needless to say, the joke did not go over well with Will Smith.
While Will initially laughed off the joke, Jada rolled her eyes. She was definitely offended. After all, she has been very public about her struggles with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
Seconds later, Will walked up on stage and slapped Chris Rock across the face.
The audience was stunned. Chris Rock awkwardly laughed it off. Viewers at home wondered if the entire incident was staged.
When Will began yelling from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing month,” the tension in the room mounted. It was apparent Chris was in as much shock as the rest of us.
Later that night, Will accepted the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard. He took the opportunity to apologize to the Academy and his colleagues as he shed some tears during his acceptance speech. Yet, he noticeably left Chris Rock out of his apology.
Was Will’s apology enough? Clearly, his PR team advised him to do more to save his public image. They must have taken note of our PR playbook.
Two days later, Will posted an apology on Instagram stating, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”
Is the Academy going to take action? While they have initiated disciplinary proceedings against Will Smith, it’s still unclear if his Oscar will be taken away.
Surprisingly, there are mixed feelings about the incident. Some people are praising Will for defending his wife while others were “sickened” by the assault and the standing ovation Will received after his win.
Although Chris said he is still “processing what happened” at the Oscars, he sure will have the last laugh. Tickets for his comedy tour have skyrocketed since the incident. The resale price for a ticket that was originally $46 has surged to over $800.
Whose side are you on?