The whole world was upended on Sunday night after actor Will Smith walked onto the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a G.I. Jane joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her hair loss due to alopecia. Smith followed up on this after returning to his seat by repeatedly telling Rock not to speak his wife’s name.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth,” Smith shouted at him.
The incident has kicked off a massive online debate about what violence is and when it is acceptable, if ever, to utilize. There are actually important discussions to be had around this relatively small act of physical violence, such as the different ways we react to different types of violence and whether that reaction is different when committed by a Black man. Additionally, people are discussing how chronic illness and disability often become easy targets for mockery and how that hurts people.
However, there have also unfortunately been plenty of objectively bad takes, including people who have compared Smith to Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin, or compared the situation in Ukraine to the situation on the Oscars stage. Others, especially U.S. right-wing mouthpieces, have managed to bring entirely unrelated subjects into the mix in a cynical attempt to score points with their base, and others have made extreme claims about the deadly potential of slaps.
If you want to feel more pain than Chris Rock did in his face Sunday night, feel free to check out some of the worst takes on the Will Smith slap that we could find: