Was Will Smith justified in striking Chris Rock for a joke?
In the instance you have been living under a- oh my God I can’t believe I’m going to say this- rock (groan!) the last 24 hours or so, let me catch you up on a little something something. I normally watch the Oscars, but this year, driving for rideshare early in the morning, I went to bed shortly after it started. I watched the James Bond tribute and that was it.
I wake up to find Will Smith pimp slapped the smile off Chris Rock’s face for making a joke. Now that line seems a little harsh, I mean, it’s unbelievable these guys who are public friends, would get into a scuffle of this magnitude on live TV? For a moment I thought I woke up in another reality, so I checked to see if CERN practiced any fuckery this weekend. Luckily CERN didn’t, but Chris Rock? Yeah, he fucked around and found out.
My take? Neither of these guys were in the right.Here’s a few scenarios from my personal experiences I hope will allow you to look at last night’s Oscars circus with an objective eye:
Like many creatives, I was hazed in high school, badly. One day, in shop class, one of my abusers started their little games again, and I lashed out. I grabbed a book laden backpack and struck him with it. The shop teacher said I had a look in my eye like a beaten dog who had enough.This was true. Still, I was punished for my actions. Violence is never an answer. I was wrong to retaliate. I was given detention and had to sweep the wood shop that night.
Some years ago I was privy to an affair between a buddy and a former friend’s wife. During a dinner party, the wife was being rather “mean” to her lover. I spoke up, defending my buddy, and called her a nasty name American women have hairy cat fits over unless you add a vowel to end of it. Her husband put me up against a wall. I submitted, not wanting to take a punch for my buddy’s soiree into infidelity. You see, I understood my former friend wasn’t choking me, by proxy he was choking my buddy, you know- the guy his wife was playing bedroom Olympics with. I left the party at this point. I was wrong for reacting as I had to her behavior and using the word I used. I should have kept my mouth shut.
In math, two negatives make a positive. But when this occurs in a social setting within a civilized society, it is not math. It never ends well and two, or more, people always look like assholes.
Will Smith shouldn’t have approached a performer on stage and committed felony assault by slapping them during a live television broadcast, being shown around the world. He then doubles down, breaking FCC code for foul language on network TV. I don’t care if Chris Rock isn’t pressing charges. The venue should – but we’ll talk about that later.
With that being said, I understand his frustration, but this does not mean I condone it. The couple’s rocky relationship has been under the scrutiny of the public eye in recent years. Things are not happy in their house. Who’s at fault? I don’t care, it’s not my business or anyone else’s. One thing is clear to me, he loves Jada, and this was the result of frustration from his marriage crumbling. He didn’t punch Chris Rock as much as he punched some other person. How so, you ask? Let me give you another example.
We experienced a similar event a few weeks ago when Julie Boeheim, wife of long time Syracuse Orange basketball coach Jim Boeheim, was robbed at gunpoint during a visit to DestiNY Mall. Shortly after, her son, Buddy, struck an opponent during an ACC tournament game. The refs missed the foul, but the ACC benched him for the Duke game. He apologized for his actions to both the league, and the other player. He paid the price for his actions and may have cost his team a shot at the ACC title. Yet, I can find empathy for him, and an understanding of why he reacted as he had. He didn’t punch a basketball player, he punched the kid who robbed his Mom. Still he deserved to be punished because he acted in an unsportsmanlike manner.
Like Buddy, who suffered consequences for his actions, Will Smith needs to do community service or something for what he did. He committed a crime. Bottom line. His winning and accepting his Oscar for his performance in King Richard. Most recent news indicates he may be stripped of the award for breaking the Academy’s code of conduct.
Now on to Chris Rock… first he should be commended for putting his hands behind his back and not hitting Will back.
With that being said…what in the fuck was he thinking? GI Jane the movie hasn’t been relevant in 25 years. Get some new material, dude. If you’re a comedian and you can’t make people laugh without mocking someone (you know has a medical condition), should you be making off the cuff jokes on live TV? Better yet, are you really a funny person? Should this be your line of work? A rule I have for my comedy is to make fun with, don’t make fun of – and this is so true when it comes to a person’s idiosyncrasies and health issues.
All this leads to one thing: I’m tired of the Ricky Gervaises, Chris Rocks, and Dave Chapelles of the world hiding behind the shield of “IT’S JUST A JOKE,”- a similar argument my high school bullies used to defend their crude remarks to me. They think their job as a comedian gives them carte blanche to mock who and whatever they feel they can, without the danger of repercussions. That’s just not the case.
Now, I’m not talking about political satire poking fun at elected individuals, for example, shitting on the shit weasels in public office is protected by law. But when you focus on a secular group of people, as Chapelle does with the trans community, and continue to bet on that number every time you do; you are creating a problem and adding more stress to an already touchy situation. Other than to vilify and mock them for their choice or physiology, what’s the point? It’s not funny. It never was funny, and I got some news for you, you can’t force it to be funny by continually repeating it, and don’t be surprised if someone slaps you for saying it. But if you do the slapping, be prepared to pay the price for your action.
The funny business is perhaps the toughest of all!