By now, I am sure you have heard about what happened at this year’s Oscars. The slap that was heard worldwide was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock after Rock made that joke about Smith’s wife. Their internet went wild when this happened, and there have been so many memes created, multiple celebrities giving their opinion on the situation, people being team Smith and team Rock. The case that transpired is very complicated because if you watch what happens in the video, Will Smith is laughing at the joke initially. He probably sees that his wife does not think the joke is funny. Smith goes up and slaps Rock in the face. Smith says, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” There has been a lot of speculation on if this was a staged act between Rock and Smith, if this is the end of Smith’s career, and what this means for the future of comedians. Smith has advocated for the use of words and not violence, but that went out the window very quickly at the Oscars. This dilemma also begs the question: if a comedian makes a joke to an audience, and if an audience member disagrees with the said joke, will they go up and slap them.
I hope that is not the case because if it is, there will be a lot of new rules and regulations that should not be made necessary if people have common sense. Comedians make jokes about everything for laughter; they don’t mean what they say out of malice but for others’ enjoyment. Comedians make fun of literally everything, and yes. At the same time, there might be touchy subjects such as people’s weight, race, and what is happening in the world today. Comedians typically don’t mean it. This event has boosted Rock’s recent tours and sold out many of his other shows; there is no bad publicity. From Entertainment Tonight’s YouTube channel, they covered the first show since the slap happened. Rock had a whole show planned out but somewhat addressed what happened at the Oscars. He told the audience that he was still processing what had happened, and at some point, he would make a severe/funny statement about it, but not tonight, that he wanted just to perform and make people laugh. However, Smith has made an official announcement on his Instagram, apologizing to the academy for his actions. Smith also resigned from the academy after what he did, and the academy reportedly accepted his resignation due to his conduct. I am very shocked that Smith did this. It is usually not his nature to choose violence since he has advocated for communication rather than using his fists.
If this will have a significant effect on Smith’s future career is way too early to tell at this point. He could be blacklisted from movies/shows/ or anything related to multimedia for a while. He will probably lay low until Rock has either made a statement about what had happened or until the heat dies down. I am interested if Smith’s career will be affected, such as Johnny Depp’s, after the divorce from his wife. Depp’s career was wholly tarnished after the court case a few years ago. He lost his position in recurring movie roles and new ones such as Fantastic Beasts.
I don’t think Smith’s career will be ruined over this incident, but that will depend if his actions have a butterfly effect on future comedian shows and if this will happen again at future events with celebrities. All people can do is watch and wait to see what transpires next.