“The Pursuit of Slap-piness”


Daniel Torrillo

It was a big night on March 27, 2022, as the Oscars took place to honor the best in the film industry during 2021. The ceremony had A-list celebrity guests, numerous musical numbers, and several tributes to pop culture classic films. But the biggest thing that happened that night by far was the moment when nominee Will Smith went up on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock. This moment sparked global controversy and overshadowed a great majority of the telecasted celebration of the film industry’s biggest award night. 


What Happened?

What exactly happened that caused this incident? Well, Chris Rock was presenting the award for best documentary feature, but being a comedian, he decided to take a few cracks at celebrities before giving out the award. After making a few jokes about Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz, Rock made a derogatory comment about Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith where he compared her haircut to “G.I. Jane.” You would think that this wasn’t a big deal but in light of Jada’s battle with alopecia (sudden loss of hair), she and Will found it offensive to be mocking fun of an illness, which Rock apparently was not aware of.


This would cause Will to walk straight up on stage and slap Chris Rock right across his face. Sitting back down, he shouted out to Rock “Keep my wife’s name out you f***ing mouth!” (TWICE!!)



The Oscar winning films that night didn’t get the attention they deserved because Will Smith’s actions stole the show. It’s unfortunate because great films, such as CODA, Belfast, The Power of the Dog and Dune, took home Oscars that were well deserved, but this incident dominated the discussion over celebrating those winners. The incident created major news coverage and created numerous memes across the internet. It seems everyone had some opinion and reaction to the incident, where some feel that Smith was chivalrous while others felt the whole incident was sickening. There were people who even thought that the whole thing was staged. Smith later went on to win Best Actor that night for his outstanding performance in “King Richard.” Smith apologized to the academy and audiences around the world (but not Rock) during this acceptance speech, saying that “love makes people do crazy things.”  


In my opinion, this movement was extremely ugly and will no doubt go down in history as one of the most infamous moments of 2022. I would however choose to remember the great performances and movies that were being honored that night and let the ill-will slip away into thin air.