On March 27, Will Smith went onstage at the 2022 Oscars and slapped Chris Rock, then yelled, “keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.” This shocking act disgraced not just the Academy, but Christians as well.
Rock made a joke about a “G.I. Jane” sequel directed at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has openly shared her recent battle with alopecia, the irreversible autoimmune disorder of hair loss. Smith had laughed at the joke while Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes at the comment, which undoubtedly signaled Smith to act.
After Smith slapped Rock, he was awarded Best Actor for his leading role in “King Richard.” He tearfully claimed during his five-minute acceptance speech that he was “overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”
“I am being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people,” Smith said. “I want to be a vessel of love and care and concern.”
This enraged me. The fact that he could assault someone on live international television and yell obscenities, then state that he is being called by God and wants to be a “vessel of love,” felt hypocritical. As a Christian, I felt he had shamed the name of the Lord by his act of violence.
Rock is a comedian, and comedy can be offensive to some, but Pinkett Smith is open about ignoring the critics. On March 22, she posted a video on her social media accounts titled “Storytime With Jada,” discussing her journey of hair through modeling and acting.
“I don’t give two craps what people feel about this bald head of mine. Cuz guess what? I love it,” Pinkett Smith said.
Although no one can know what they’ve said to each other behind closed doors, Pinkett Smith clearly didn’t need or want her husband to act on her behalf, let alone with aggression. After all, violence is never the solution to feelings of being hurt.
If he was adamant about rectifying the situation, Smith could’ve responded with his own witty joke. It is a far better solution than physical assault, whether it’s broadcast worldwide or not. As they say, the tongue is a powerful weapon. Regardless, if he is a follower of God, he should’ve taken a breath and privately discussed it with him.
On March 28, Smith apologized on his Instagram page: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
“Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith said. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
The statement touched my heart. People make mistakes, and owning up to those mistakes makes the world a better place. I find it admirable that he apologized, although not once did he mention how his actions affect the reputation of Christians or his relationship with God.
Religion may not seem particularly important in this situation, but Smith’s faith is a pillar of his statement. His vulnerable apology shows what a true Christian represents: spreading love and repenting for your sins, as you have already been forgiven.