Headline RoundupMarch 29th, 2022

Divided Reactions to Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

AllSides Summary

On Sunday, actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars — and then won the Oscar in the best actor category. On Monday, it was all anyone was talking about. 

Smith’s actions came after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia. Once Smith sat back down, he yelled at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f------- mouth.” “Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me,” Rock remarked before moving on with his presentation. 

Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his Oscar acceptance speech, and he later apologized to Rock in a public statement. While Rock declined to file a police report, the Academy condemned Smith’s actions and launched a formal review into potential consequences. 

The slap and its consequences made top headlines across the spectrum. Perspectives on the story ranged widely; some, like The Atlantic’s (Lean Left) Elizabeth Bruenig, said “the only correct answer to the will smith thing was ‘lmao.’” Others took a strong stance that “words are not violence,” condemning Smith’s “assault.” While Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) both praised Smith on Twitter for being a “husband defending his wife,” others tied the incident to toxic masculinity

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