The slap heard ’round the world Sunday night got Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to fire up the old Twitter machine to voice her opinions. Opinions that very quickly got deleted and left many leftists wondering why she would not stand behind her statement. “#Alopecia nation stand up! Thank you #WillSmith Shout out to all the husbands who defend their wives living with alopecia in the face of daily ignorance & insults.”
To shed some background on the story, comedian Chris Rock was doing a bit about Jada Pinkett Smith and decided to crack a joke about her bald head, and looking forward to seeing her in GI Jane II. Will Smith gave it a small awkward laugh as cameras pulled in on him, meanwhile, Jada was visibly disturbed by the joke.
Will quickly rose from his seat, walked forward to the stage and open-hand slapped Chris Rock across the face. Turning around and walking back to his seat, he told Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. Quick thinking on Rock’s part got the situation de-escalated quickly with a small joke or two about the slap. U.S. broadcasts did not feature the audio of the post slap comments, but several overseas outlets featured it.
Immediately, the internet was set ablaze with people making jokes about the whole situation, past issues Jada and Will have had with her committing infidelity and embarrassing him on national television, and the idea of Smith and Rock going toe to toe on Celebrity Boxing was also circulating. The biggest debate was about Smith’s reaction, and there seemed to be no clear by-the-books response.
You saw some claiming that he should have known it was a joke, not to take it so seriously, and that his reaction was too far. Others claimed that speaking this way about his wife (especially with a medical condition) was too far, and the slap was justified. This debate could circulate for quite some time. One other question that was quickly answered was about the possibility of Rock pressing charges for assault. Given the public nature of the slap and the overwhelming witness list, it would be an easy case, but Rock declined to press charges.
Another result of this slap was the reinvigoration of the conspiracy theories. People alleged that this was done as a result of the poor ratings the show has received over the last few years, especially last year’s. Given how the numbers skyrocketed after the slap was delivered, if that was the idea, it certainly worked. Following this slap, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor in “King Richard” to little surprise. His acceptance speech was filled with tears where he said “I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse… I want to apologize to the academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”
These words may have been hollow or too little, too late for many people who are fans of these two men. It also got others to continue down the rabbit hole of different theories that this slap was planned. Some claimed that Rock told the joke during rehearsals, and Smith was present and had no issue with it then. Either way, this is a debate that may go on for some time…at least until these two have a real fight or interview to tell their respective sides.
As for Ayanna Pressley’s tweet, she decided that it was too controversial for her to be a part of, even if she suffers from alopecia herself.