It is almost time for the Academy Awards 2023. As March 12th arrives, the best films, acting performances and technical achievements in cinema will compete for top honors. Besides winning the coveted golden statuette, the Oscars are also memorable for an evening of glitz, glamour and interactions between a galaxy of stars.
There have been many iconic moments that have defined the awards over the years but the infamous “slap gate” episode between Will Smith and Chris Rock in 2022 will surely take the top spot. After taking offence to the comedian’s dig at Jada Pinkett Smith involving her condition alopecia, Will Smith shocked the world by publically slapping the Spiral actor on stage for his callous comments. Among a barrage of opinions and reactions, the Hollywood camp was divided with many actors supporting Will Smith’s action while others believed that he overreacted to a humorous situation.
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Will Smith received support from these actors
1. Jaden Smith
Following the slapping incident, many actors came forward to support Will Smith and praised him for defending his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. One of the first celebrities to comment was the couple’s son Jaden Smith. The Karate Kid actor tweeted a simple response in defence of his father saying,
“And that’s how we do it”
Jaden Smith subsequently did not comment any more on the issue but it is evident that his brief words sent out a strong message in support of his father.
2. Jameela Jamil
British actor Jameela Jamil also took to social media to defend the Men In Black actor saying,
“Will Smith said, “Not Today”. A man big enough to absolutely floor him, slapped him softly enough that Chris barely moved, because he made fun of his wife’s alopecia on a world stage. Don’t say #protectBlackwomen for two years and then only condemn Will here”.
The Good Place actor has always been vocal about women’s causes and hence her support towards Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith is hardly surprising.
3. MJ Rodriguez
There were others who stood by Will Smith including Golden Globe winner MJ Rodriguez who sympathised with the Alladin actor. The Glaad awardee who is also a singer and activist is quoted to have said,
“Sometimes human emotions happen. Sometimes human interactions happen. We can’t judge people based on their moments”
The celebrity also went on to say that Will Smith was right to stand by his wife.
4. Tiffany Haddish
Actor Tiffany Haddish also extended strong support to Will Smith for defending his wife with these powerful words,
“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me. As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say like, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you”
The star also went on to say that it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen because it made her believe in true love.
5. Nicki Minaj
Rapper and singer Nicki Minaj was also vocal in her support to Will Smith stating that Chris Rock’s “GI Jane” joke about Jada Pinkett Smith was uncalled for. She further went on to add that while she was a fan of Chris Rock’s comedy, he should have been more sensitive when commenting on appearances especially since Jada Pinkett Smith had been through challenging times with her health.
Also Read: $375M Rich Will Smith Reportedly ‘Unsuccessful’ at Making Amends After Humiliating Chris Rock at the Oscars
Chris Rock also received sympathy from many corners
1. Kathy Griffin
Among the celebrities who lent their support to Chris Rock, fellow comedian Kathy Griffin minced no words in her takedown of Will Smith. She said,
“Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian”
The actor also went on to add that comedians will now have to think doubly hard before making jokes thanks to Will Smith’s exaggerated reaction.
2. Kevin Costner
Actor Kevin Costner commented on the incident and supported Chris Rock by saying that while it is natural for instinct to take over, Will Smith made a wrong judgement call by acting on it. While he may have had valid reasons for reacting the way he did, he would have done better to control his anger in the public space.
3. Mark Hamill
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill also expressed his thoughts on the incident calling the slap a violent physical assault on a colleague. He added that this would be considered one of the ugliest Oscar moments in history and an incident that Chris Rock didn’t deserve to face.
4. Jim Carey
Perhaps the strongest reaction to the slap came from actor Jim Carey who expressed his support for Chris Rock with a firm statement that read,
“I’d have announced this morning that I was suing Will for 200 million dollars because that video is going to be there forever. It’s going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time. You do not have the right to walk up on stage and smack somebody in the face because they said words”.
The Mask star went on to say that he was sickened by the standing ovation that Will Smith got when receiving his Oscar for King Richard and rued the fact that Hollywood had descended to this level of behaviour
5. George Takei
Star Trek star George Takei was another actor who disagreed with Will Smith’s conduct towards Chris Rock. Talking of moral responsibility, he said that actors must be aware of not only their public image but also the fact that they are role models to the younger generation who look up to them.
While Oscars 2022 saw many talented performers getting their due, it will always be remembered for this incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
The Academy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on March 12th, 2023
Also Read: Chris Rock Defends Will SmithDespite Oscars Slap Humiliation, Says Jada Smith Publicly Embarrassing Him With August Alsina Affair Wasn’t Cool: “Why the f**k would you do that sh*t?”