Everyone is talking about the slap heard around the world. The most viral moment of the Academy Awards last night was when Will Smith jumped on stage to slap Chris Rock in the face when he made a joke about his wife.
Upon further investigation it really does seem like that was a genuine interaction between Will Smith and Chris Rock. Nobody can stop talking about the moment when Smith slapped Rock and then screamed from his seat, "Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth!"
As we all watched this juicy drama unfold, you can't help but feel bad for Chris Rock as he stood on stage flabbergasted. He gathered himself like a pro and continued on with presenting the award for Best Documentary. But while everyone was busy sharing memes and collectively finding entertainment in that truly viral moment, we find ourselves asking why on earth Will Smith would allow other men to sleep with his wife, but he has this kind of visceral reaction when a comedian makes a fairly innocent, tame joke about his wife's appearance?
Will Smith Allows Other Men To Sleep with His Wife
There have been longstanding rumors that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have an open marriage, and two years ago the couple essentially confirmed this to be true in an episode of Jada's Facebook show called Red Table Talk. She admitted that she had an affair with singer August Alsina, but this affair was pre-approved by her husband Will because they were going through a "difficult time."
Jada said she and August were friends for a few years, but then things changed. "As time went on, I got into a different type of entanglement with August," she admitted in a conversation with Will. "It was a relationship, absolutely... I was in a lot of pain, and I was very broken. In the process of that relationship I definitely realized that you can't find happiness outside yourself."
The Smiths are the perfect representation of the type of Hollywood dysfunction that's put on a pedestal as progressive and forward-thinking, when in reality it's completely destructive and abnormal. But of course, these types of confessions make for great content that generates millions of clicks and views so they continue onward, continuously patting themselves on the back for being vulnerable and authentic about their infidelity.
Jada has been rumored to have dated and slept with multiple other men during her marriage with Will, but none of these relationships have been confirmed. However, it wouldn't be far-fetched to assume that August wasn't the only man that she had extra-martial affairs with.
Why Is Will Smith More Offended by a Joke Than His Wife Being Unfaithful?
Knowing all this, it makes Will's unhinged reaction even more odd. How on earth does a joke about his wife's hairstyle make him more upset than the thought of his wife having sex with another man? All of Hollywood knows that Jada has been unfaithful, and Will has accepted it willingly (in fact, he's given her his blessing to cheat), so his anger toward Chris seems misplaced at best. Upon closer thought, though, it makes perfect sense that we watched that unfold last night.
We have heard for years that "words are violence," which is how companies and corporations justify deplatforming social media users or firing employees over a comment or opinion. Will's embarrassing outburst confirms that Hollywood truly does believe that "words are violence," so much so that a joke from a comic warrants a physical attack from the offended party.
Additionally, when you take into account all of the humiliation that Will has experienced by his wife sleeping around (because as much as he tries to put on a brave face and act like he's fine with it, you know it must disturb him on a deep level), it actually kind of makes sense that he would have this explosive reaction to Chris at the Oscars. What we witnessed was Will finally buckling under the weight of his trainwreck marriage, and he unleashed all his pent-up aggression on Chris.
Will Smith Initially Laughed at Chris Rock's Joke
Perhaps the strangest part of this whole interaction is how Will laughed heartily at Chris' GI Jane joke at first. When the camera cut to the audience, you could see that Jada was visibly offended but Will was giggling. But the next thing you know, Will is storming onto the stage to smack Chris straight across the face.
This confirms the speculation that we've all made for years: Jada wears the pants in the relationship. After Will laughed at Chris' joke, while the cameras were turned away, Jada obviously made it clear that she wasn't happy with the comedian's dig so she summoned Will to reverse his reaction and stick up for her. And he listened. This tells us that Will answers his wife's calls to action without question, even if he disagrees with her. Perhaps this is why he's in such a difficult headspace about the affairs that he has allegedly "approved."
Will Smith Is Making Himself Out To Be the Victim — and Hollywood Is Playing Along
In the backwards world of Hollywood, up is down and down is up. So naturally, Will Smith is the victim in all of this. During the commercial break after Will slapped Chris, someone captured footage of various celebrities, including Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, consoling Will for the traumatizing incident he just endured. Within hours of the incident, Huffington Post published an article that praised Will and acted like his assault on Chris was a noble sign of growth.
"The once tight-lipped, eager-to-please star who rose from the ’90s and early aughts is now in, as he told GQ, his 'fuck-it 50s' and has fully committed to the ridiculous expectations of celebrity culture," Candice Frederick wrote. "He did it in his own time and in his own bizarre way, but it worked out."
To top it all off, Will's acceptance speech when he was awarded the honor of Best Actor made it sound like he was the hero of the whole situation.
"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family," he said in his speech, tears streaming down his face. "In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world."
"I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that‘s OK."
"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things," he concluded.
To recap, Will disrupts the Academy Awards to physically assault a comedian, sits back down with no consequences, and proceeds to accept the Best Actor award and give a speech about defending his family. Only in Hollywood could people get away with this kind of behavior (just like we've seen with Alec Baldwin) and be propped up as the victims of the situation.
As easy as it is to laugh at the whole situation, it's actually sad that Will Smith is in such a toxic headspace about his own marriage that he self-sabotaged an evening that was supposed to be focused on his first Oscar win. If we're to find one takeaway from the whole evening, it would be that open relationships are rarely the success that some people like to make them out to be.