I’m sure that after being bombarded with Will Smith memes for a week straight, reading an article on it is probably at the end of your fun list, but hear me out.
There are really only two questions that matter; did Chris Rock deserve to be slapped for his comments on Jada Pinkett Smith? And should Will Smith be reprimanded for resorting to violence?
Yes, and yes.
I do think that Chris Rock’s comments were out of line and offensive, especially since it targeted something that Jada Pinkett Smith has no control over. I’m referring of course to her Alopecia. But I also think that Will Smith’s actions should be condemned. Resorting to violence can never be the answer, especially at a live television event that is being watched by the entire world.
The damages alone to Chris Rock’s career are enough grounds for legal action, never mind the physical assault. Everywhere he goes now, he’s going to see t-shirts, memes, and autotune remixes of Will Smith slapping him.
From now on, his career will be defined by this moment. And that’s a shame because I love all four seasons of Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009) and I actually found Grown Ups (2010) pretty funny too (don’t tell anyone).
But if I’m honest, and I think I will be because this is Opinion section, I think the biggest problem with the whole situation was that the joke wasn’t funny.
I honestly believe that if Chris Rock’s comment about Jada Pinkett Smith being in G.I Jane 2 had actually been a funny joke, unlike the arguably boring comment he made, the entire Smith family would have laughed and shrugged it off.
The thing is it wasn’t funny at all, and now people are talking about how comedians should be reined in and not allowed to joke about anything they want.
I don’t think comedy should have limitations or censors; I think that, for me, it is part of the healing process to be able to find humor in grim situations. I think that when the joke isn’t funny, people find offence, especially if the topic is dealing with sensitive material.
The narrative should really be turning to Hollywood itself; what does this say about the culture that celebrities have cultivated? Will Smith was allowed to walk up to the stage, assault a performer and was then handed the highest award the Academy of Motion Arts and Pictures can bestow upon an actor.
What does this say about Hollywood and our supposed heroes?