The ‘Slap’ that Changed the Dynamic of Award Shows 

Elisabette Labonte, Contributor

On March 27, 2022, the Oscars hosted their 94th annual awards. However, there was a twist as the night went on: an allegedly offensive joke made by Chris Rock led to Will Smith starting some drama.  

Rock made a joke towards Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, which referenced her shaved head, saying he’ll see her in the next “GI. Jane.” GI. Jane starred with Demi Moore, who shaved her head for the movie. The comment was intended to be a joke.

According to WebMD, alopecia is “an autoimmune disorder that causes your hair to come out, often clumps the size and shape of a quarter.”  

This condition is nothing to joke or laugh about because many feel like they’re losing a part of their personality with alopecia.  

I see where Smith was coming from, but let’s break down everything piece-by-piece because there’s the whole alopecia aspect, and then there’s the whole situation of Smith seeming to bottle things up.

Let’s start with what happened that night. Rock made a joke about seeing Pinkett-Smith in the next GI. Jane. Not even five minutes later, Smith is seen walking up on stage to Rock and slaps him hard across the cheek. Smith proceeds to step back to his seat and says, “Keep my wife’s name out your f****** mouth!”  

Smith was about to be escorted out, but Rock chose not to press charges so that Smith could stay.  

The Scandal Heard ‘Round the World’  

According to Newsweek, in 2020, Pinkett-Smith confirmed that she slept with 29-year-old August Alsina. Both Smith and Pinkett-Smith admitted that they were in an “open marriage.”  

This has since resurfaced on social media because of the Oscars. Social media users are accusing her of having Smith “on a leash.”  

After the joke was made, she allegedly gave him a dirty look, and that is what social media users said set off Smith and caused him to slap Rock.  

So, because of this, social media users have pointed out how Pinkett-Smith is “no good” for Smith and that he should leave her.  

Honestly, if they were in an open marriage, they were in an open marriage. However, she has been accused in the past of mistreating Smith. A video resurfaced of Pinkett-Smith recording herself and Smith and said he was “actin’ a fool again.” Smith didn’t like this, likely because he felt diminished.  

Why bring this up? Because social media users brought this to light and made an exciting theory: Smith had lost it. With his family and the world ravaged by disease and war, I don’t blame him for losing it, although it doesn’t necessarily mean he should’ve slapped Rock.


Since then, Smith has been banned from the Oscars for ten years. Pinkett-Smith hasn’t commented on the incident other than posting on her social media about healing and that Smith shouldn’t have slapped Rock, while Rock himself said he’s still “processing it.” Everybody else who was there or not wanted to share their opinion, and they did.

Jim Carey has come out against Smith, saying that violence is not the answer, while P. Diddy said that Rock and Smith made up at the after-party. Information later surfaced that that was a lie. In addition, more details have come to the surface from the Oscars. Amy Schumer was told not to tell this offensive joke about Alec Baldwin and the movie “Rust,” but that wasn’t the only joke she would say that night. She would say to a joke about Leonardo Dicaprio and his “girlfriends.”


What Smith did was uncalled for. There were many different ways he could’ve gotten back at Rock instead of slapping him. Many social media users said he could’ve stood up for his wife during his acceptance speech. I believe he could’ve made a comeback joke to destroy Rock’s joke. He could’ve posted something about how the mark hurt him and his wife. There were many alternatives to this, and he didn’t have to slap Rock.  

However, being banned from the Oscars for ten years is extreme over a slap. It’s not like he beat the snot out of Rock. It was a slap across the face.

As for Pinkett-Smith, the situation puts her into deeper trouble with her audience. Of course, she has the right to say or not say anything, but it makes her look like the bad guy from some perspectives 

Unfortunately, there is no clear resolve yet, but that doesn’t mean the circumstance is over. Smith has taken a hard beating from this issue and is slightly bruised up. It’s hard to tell how Smith is truly feeling now and what’s next for him regarding his career and personal life.