2022’s Oscars Present…The Slap


Sierra Blaser, Editor

At this point, I have seen the Oscars’ slap from every possible angle. For those of you who have been living under a rock and use The Paper Cut as your only news source (don’t do that), on March 27, 2022 Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards following a joke by Rock that was directed towards Jada Smith. He laughed, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.” Proceeding the joke, Will Smith stormed the stage, slapped Chris Rock, and returned to his seat, yelling “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.” Chris Rock kept his composure through the rest of presenting the award, trying to joke, “That was the… greatest night in the history of television.”

Jada Pinkett Smith has been public about her experience with alopecia since 2018. Alopecia is defined as “an autoimmune disorder that causes your hair to come out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter.” For a while, the actress wore a turban over her head to hide her hair loss, before fully shaving her head in December of 2021. She often discusses her condition on her Facebook Watch series “Red Table Talk,” where she first stated, “I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, ‘Oh, my God, am I going bald?'”

Will Smith’s slap has launched a plethora of different takes, ranging from Chris Rock deserving the slap to Will Smith deserving jail time. My personal opinion? Both are in the wrong, but violence is NOT the solution, especially in that situation. Alopecia is a sensitive topic and Jada should not have been at the butt of that joke, however, what Will Smith did was completely out of line. Not only did he slap someone on live TV for a mild joke (award show jokes have been harsher than that), but he set a terrible example for what’s now acceptable in the comedy industry. The infamous slap perfectly exemplifies the privilege that Hollywood stars receive on the daily. If I were to go up and slap a comedian because I was offended by their joke, I’d be escorted out and likely arrested immediately. In this situation, there was no security involvement; instead, Smith received a comforting talk from neighboring actors and later gave a speech excusing his violence, claiming it was out of love, and even getting a standing ovation.

One aspect of the situation that many people have commented on is how classily Chris Rock handled the situation. He held himself together, tried to make light of it, and continued to do his job. The root of his reaction has gained him a bit more sympathy from myself and hundreds of other readers who have looked back into his history of why he doesn’t stand up for himself. In a 2020 interview with Howard Stern, Rock opened up about his experiences with abuse and sexual assault. “I got my f***ing *ss beat and I got physically f****d up and sometimes some sexual s**t happened,” he said. “I wasn’t raped, but rape-ish.” At one point, Rock stood up to one of his bullies, which resulted in Rock nearly killing him. He put a brick in his bookbag, took it to school with him, and swung it at the boy’s face. “Long story short, from that day on, as my shrink puts it to me: ‘You have been scared to be angry ever since,’” he stated. While Smith has apologized for his actions and Rock has commented that he will not be making a public statement on it at the moment, countless conversations criticizing Hollywood have been sparked by the action.

The one positive outcome of the situation? The memes. My TikTok and Twitter pages have been full of comical reenactment videos and amusing edits (some of which will be listed below).

At the end of the day, the whole situation is just a bunch of celebrity drama that most of us won’t remember in a few months. Something newer and funnier will come along, and the conflict will fade into the background until the media can use the situation against either of the two men when it’s convenient. For now, however, it’s an interesting topic to discuss. Leave your own comments, ideas, and theories about the Oscars’ Slap below.