When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, appalled witnesses quickly sided with Rock — on a surface level, all he did was joke about Smith’s wife Jada, or as podcast host Ethan Klein described it, “a comedian doing his job.” However, some Oscar viewers have a wildly different viewpoint.
Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head — a result of the disease alopecia — and when she appeared upset at the jab, Smith strode onto the stage and hit Rock, then cursed him out. The nature of Rock’s joke, Jada’s reaction, and Will’s clear defense of his wife have some commenters openly supporting Will.
Tiffany Hadish called the incident “beautiful,” stating that “When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me.” Nicki Minaj also tweeted, “You just got to witness in real time what happens in a man's soul when he looks over to the woman he loves & sees her holding back tears from a ‘little joke’ at her expense.”
Other Twitter users also chimed in, with @SistahScholar writing, “When is the last time you've seen a Black woman publicly defended in real time? I rest my case.” @kmarch67 wrote, “Jada has been very clear about her insecurities of her hair loss […] Will had every responsibility to stand up for his wife.”