The Slap


Emma Mathew, Junior High Staff Writer

We all remember the moment. You’re staying awake watching the Oscars, probably a little later than you should be, and you’re already starting to get bored. Your attention is slipping away, and the glitzy gowns and sliding transitions are no longer as eye catching as they were when you first made the decision to devote three and a half hours of your life to this mind numbing program. Then, in an act comparable to a lightning strike in a dry forest, it happened. After a possibly insensitive (?) joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith in his full splendor sashays onto stage, smacking Chris Rock with the fire and fury of a thousand suns, before walking off stage, brimming with sass and leaving the Internet decimated.

Now when I saw this video, I burst into laughter and then spent the rest of my day smiling at the memes my dad sent me about the whole ordeal. However, this was not the course of action for many people. As I soon found out, many people were outraged about the incident, calling it abuse and virtually shouting that Chris Rock should be pressing charges and that Will Smith is the worst person of all time and he should never be seen again. Although that’s a slight exaggeration, many were very upset about the whole situation. On one hand, the Oscars are no small event. It’s a nationally televised broadcast, and many argued that violence isn’t acceptable because it sets a precedent. If Will Smith doesn’t get punished for this, then what else is acceptable? In addition, Will Smith is an extremely well known actor. He carries the burden of being a role model to many, and with the privilege comes great responsibility. On the other hand, some argue that we’re just spectators commenting without the full idea. The men have both collaborated in the past, specifically on Torrance Rises in 1999. They’ve been spotted sitting together court-side at NBA games, and Rock has even been on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. They clearly have some kind of relationship, one that we know nothing about aside from the historic slap.

Also, this is far from the worst thing to happen at the Oscars. In 1973, Sasheen Littlefeather declined Marlon Brando’s award for The Godfather, and instead used the moment to give a speech about the portrayal of Indigenous people in the film industry. She was openly mocked by Clint Eastwood, and six bodyguards had to restrain John Wayne from physically attacking her. I have no kind of allegiance or even genuine interest in Will Smith, but I find it hard to take people who say he should be arrested for assault seriously. I mean, come on guys it was a slap. Even talking about it seriously while writing this article has been emotionally draining. In my opinion, I think we should treat this the way most late night talk-shows have, as the most interesting thing to happen at the Oscars for a very long time.