March 27, 2022, was singularly one of the best and simultaneously the worst night of Will Smith’s entire life, as aptly pointed out by The Daily Show‘s former host, Trevor Noah. Not only did the I Am Legend actor win a most deserving Oscar (the first in his career) but was also banned for a decade by the Academy immediately after as a repercussion of his assault on Oscars host, Chris Rock. In the months following the incident — dubbed surreptitiously as the “Oscars slapgate” by the internet — people judged from afar and Will Smith receded to the shadows, doling out his occasional, if not persistent, apologies.
With Emancipation now gathering steam, and the actor getting back out there, 9 months seemed like ample time to give the matter some silent treatment. A conversation with Trevor Noah now brings some previously undisclosed rationality behind the evening’s run-up to the slap.
Will Smith Talks About Factors That Led to the Oscars Slap
Amid conversations focusing on slavery, Civil War, emancipation, and freedom, Trevor Noah and Will Smith diverged into topics centering around the night of March 27th, 2022. It was a definitive moment in Smith’s career that immediately and swiftly ruled him as the villain. People claimed how the real Will Smith came out in that one moment, forsaking his public image of positivity, smiles, and near-constant enthusiasm. But the actor brushes that aside and claims,
“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just lost it. And I guess what I would say, you just never know what somebody’s going through. In the audience right now, you’re sitting next to strangers. And somebody’s mother died last week. Somebody’s child is sick. Somebody lost their job. Somebody just found out their spouse cheated, you know.
There’s all these things and there’s strangers and you just don’t know what’s going on with people. And I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all. I would just say, you know you’re asking what did I learn, and it’s that, we just gotta be nice to each other, man. It’s like, it’s hard. And I guess the thing that was most painful for me is I took my heart and made it hard for other people.”
It was clear, by this point, that Will Smith is talking about standing up for Jada Pinkett Smith and defending her honor, and in his elaborate explanation, the former indirectly brings up an instance that directly traces back to the publicized scandal of his wife’s extramarital affair.
Did Jada Pinkett Smith Instigate the Oscars Slap Incident?
In 2015, Jaden Smith introduced singer August Alsina to his parents which then led to the singer snuggling up to the family. He accompanied the family to their vacations in Hawaii and walked the red carpet of the 2017 BET Awards alongside Jada Pinkett Smith. In July 2020, an hour-long interview with Angela Lee in The Breakfast Club revealed Alsina’s lengthy affair with Jada Pinkett Smith, and more controversially, that he had Will Smith’s blessing to do so.
Also read: “You know, getting called the N-word… it was rough”: Will Smith Was Pushed to His Limits While Filming ‘Emancipation’ After Fans Call Upcoming Movie ‘Oscar-Bait’ to Make People Forget Chris Rock Controversy
The affair was said to have taken place when the two were separated. With the Gotham actress confirming those allegations as true, the media spurred into action and spun the spotlight on the reunited Smith couple. A week later, Will and Jada Smith reaffirmed their marriage commitment and there has been no news on that front ever since. Until the Oscars slapgate.
Trevor Noah then manages to connect the dots and expresses how, after a lifetime of being afraid, wronged, hurt, and undermined by people, Will Smith chose to declare a stop to all the bullying and shaming. The only flaw in that logic was that he “stood up for the wrong thing and at the wrong time.”
Emancipation is streaming on Apple TV+.
Source: The Daily Show With Trevor Noah