Will Smith hits Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022

What did Will Smith do at the Oscars?!

On March 27, 2022, just before accepting his first Oscar, Will Smith got offended by a joke made by host Chris Rock at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Will Smith got up from his seat, walked on stage and hit Chris Rock in the face in front of millions of viewers on live television. He then returned to his seat where he continued to shout profanities at Rock. So far, we have learned three things from the Oscars: Chris Rock can take a punch, Will Smith can’t take a joke, and Will Smith has never won an Oscar.

What was the joke made by Chris Rock about Jada Pinkett Smith?

You would think the joke was something awful and personal, perhaps about Will and Jada’s ever-failing marriage, rumors over affairs, polygamy or swingers lifestyle but no, Chris Rock compared Jada’s hairstyle to G.I. Jane and said that he couldn’t wait to see G.I. Jane 2. That’s it.

Will Smith hits Chris Rock in the face at the 2022 Oscars.

Chris Rock took it like a champ

Chris Rock, stunned, regained his composure and tried to laugh it off. “Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me!” The camera then focused of Will, who shouted back: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Rock stopped smiling and explained the absurdity of the situation: “It was a G.I. Jane joke”. “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth” Smith repeated slower and louder. In an effort to pacify him, Rock replied: “I am going to” and moved on to the rest of the show. The audience was shocked, still not knowing if this was a stunt.

Perhaps Chris Rock is used to getting slapped, because he handled this unpredictable moment incredibly well. Chris did not fall or even stumble. He didn’t try to fight back. He de-escalated the argument when he could have said a lot more. He then moved on to doing his job as a host and comedian.

What is wrong with Will Smith?

Will Smith’s behavior at the Oscars was nothing short of crazy. Before the altercation he was seen laughing at the G.I. Jane joke. Then he must’ve noticed that it upset Jada. Seconds later he was up on the stage defending her honor.

The joke wasn’t even funny. It was lame. Had Will done nothing, it would have been Chris Rock who looked foolish for making it, and everyone would have forgotten about it 10 seconds later.

Will Smith oscars 2022
Will Smith laughing at the G.I. Jane joke

Why was Will so angry?

Will Smith could have enjoyed the highlight of his career and taken home his Oscar with quiet dignity. Instead, he assaulted the host of the Oscars in a fit of rage and swore at him twice on live TV. While his anger was massively disproportionate, it was likely in defence of Jada’s emotional struggle with alopecia.

Alopecia is a condition that develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Whether Chris Rock was aware of it, or just mistook her hairstyle for a fashion statement is unclear. Regardless, it was a worthless joke that should have been ignored.

Jada Pinkett Smith after the G.I. Jane joke

Will Smith’s Oscar acceptance speech

As mentioned, this was Will Smith’s first Oscar. He has been nominated twice before for best actor – in 2007 for The Pursuit of Happyness and in 2002 for Ali. As he accepted his first ever Oscar for best actor for his role as tennis father Richard Williams in King Richard, Smith gave a tearful speech in which he apologized to everyone except Chris Rock. The speech may have been the most tone-deaf, ironic cry fest since Collateral Beauty. That’s because right after hitting Chris Rock, Will Smith spoke about the abuse that Hollywood celebrities are forced to endure. He also mentioned that Denzel Washington warned him: “at your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you”. Will then compared himself to a “crazy father” similar to the character in the movie he was receiving the Oscar for.

“I want to be a vessel for love”

Will Smith, Oscars 2022
Will Smith cries and says he is a “vessel for love” right after hitting Chris Rock in the face.

The whole thing was extremely bizarre and left many with questions about Will Smith’s mental health. After all, this should have been one of the best days of Will Smith’s life. In a split-second poorly-made decision, Will sabotaged one of the most important nights of his career and made the Oscars look like an episode of Desperate Housewives. 

The beef between the Smiths and Chris Rock

But was this really about the G.I. Jane joke or was this a build up stemming from the beef between Chris Rock and the Smiths dating back to 2016? This wasn’t the first time Chris Rock made fun of Will and Jada who chose not to attend the 2016 Oscars to protest the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

Chris Rock Oscars 2016
Chris Rock – 2016 Oscars

“This is like me boycotting Rhianna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!” 

Chris Rock, 2016 Oscars

Ironically, aside from his reputation, Will Smith also sabotaged his black rights efforts by assaulting another black man over a joke he didn’t like, for a woman who hasn’t been that great of a wife to him lately.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s marriage

The history of Jada and Will’s marriage adds even more confusion to Will’s actions. Jada has been publicly dragging Will through the mud for years. She’s made it clear that she is not happy in the marriage and admitted to having a relationship with another man, 27 year old August Alsina, in 2020. The Smiths did not refer to this as an affair, because they were either in the process of a break up or in an open relationship at the time. August Alsina, rapper and singer who happens to be the Smiths’ family friend has even stated that Will gave him his blessing to be with Jada. It’s hard to know what really went on, but when Jada brought up August during an episode of Red Table Talk, Will looked heartbroken. Jada referred to her relationship with August as an “entaglement” which was a strange word choice. 

Jada Pinkett Smith and August Alsina
Jada Pinkett Smith and August Alsina

After the episode aired, many of Will’s fans were disgusted with Jada and accused her or deliberately torturing and humiliating Will on television. Others commended her for speaking about the hardships of marriage openly. But regardless of whether it’s an open or closed marriage, it has been on the rocks for years. Will Smith himself has referred to their marriage as “the most difficult, grueling, excruciating thing that they had ever taken on in their lives”.

Will Smith’s son’s reaction

While many celebrities were outraged by Will’s actions demanding that he apologize to Chris Rock, Jaden Smith tweeted only one line:

“And that’s how we do it”

Jaden Smith in response to the Oscars 2022 fiasco
Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith responds to Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars

While it is obvious that he is backing his dad, this really shouldn’t be the lesson Will’s son walks away with.

Will has a tough road ahead

Hitting is wrong. But hitting a beloved A list comedian over a lame joke at the Oscars can destroy your career and get you canceled. Aside from his problems with Jada, Will has a new challenge ahead as he becomes the prince of the cringiest, most shocking Oscars in history. The “punch” will likely be made into a meme and he will have a hell of a time trying to get people to take him seriously. For Will Smith, one terrible and irrational decision has turned the most successful night of his career into the biggest televised disaster of 2022.

Somewhere, in a karmic coincidence, the first Aunt Viv is having a laugh. 

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