Tiffany Haddish: Will Smith smacking Chris Rock was ‘the most beautiful thing’

It’s not surprising that the Will Smith-Chris Rock Oscar incident was the talk of the Oscar afterparties. But what did surprise me is that the overwhelming majority of Oscar-attendees either kept their mouths shut or they gave Will and Chris some space and some grace to work it out on their own. Very few celebrities were trying to dive in the middle of the situation and talk sh-t about either man. Tiffany Haddish went a bit further than most people though – it seems she is firmly on Team Will Smith. She described his actions as “beautiful.”

Tiffany Haddish is sharing her thoughts on Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, explaining why she found the controversial moment “beautiful.”

“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me,” Haddish, 42, told PEOPLE at the Governors Ball following the ceremony. During the show, Smith, 53, walked on stage and hit Rock, 57, after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.

Haddish, who starred in 2017’s Girls Trip with Jada, continued, “As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you. And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”

Haddish then asked, “Would you do that for your wife? Would you say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mother f—ing…’ Like, yes! Yes!”

The comedian and actress went on to note that Rock is “a friend” of Will and Jada, and questioned, “Why would you do that? He didn’t even run the joke by her, but she was hurt though. If she wouldn’t have been hurt, [Will] probably wouldn’t have said nothing,” said Haddish. “But you could see he was clearly… And they exploited it. They exploited her, so ‘I have to do something’… He protected his wife.” She later said that “Will is fine.”

[From People]

Yeah, that’s the thing – the Hollywood community is close-knit already, but the Black Hollywood community is even more close-knit. Chris Rock has known Will Smith and Jada for years, decades. They socialize in the same circles. Tiffany knows Rock from the comedy world, and she knows Will and Jada from the acting world. Tiffany is putting herself in Jada’s shoes in the situation and thinking about how hurt Jada must have felt. And honestly? Hurting Jada’s feelings was the whole point of Rock’s “joke.” The Oscar producers knew Rock was going to say that. That’s why they already had the camera on Will and Jada, for their reaction. As Tiffany says, they exploited Jada.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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158 Responses to “Tiffany Haddish: Will Smith smacking Chris Rock was ‘the most beautiful thing’”

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  1. Smile says:

    Violence is never the answer.

    • SarahLee says:

      Except sometimes it is, right? Not saying that it is in this instance, but all these pithy “Violence is never right” takes just exhibits a whole different sort of privilege. It’s like all the “zero tolerance” policies. No nuance. No shades of gray.

      • Smile says:

        @SarahLee I do think you have a good point .I should have written not in this case.

      • Seraphina says:

        We are raising boys (and a girl). My son says it’s not fair to turn and walk away if he gets hit at school because he too, regardless, will be punished; so why not fight back.
        Every situation is different. No two people are alike and neither is conflict. I once saw a woman being beaten in a parking lot late at night by a male. The men in our company rushed over and knocked him out to secure him. Violence is wrong but sometimes it is needed.

      • Emma says:

        We live in a country that is deeply violent. We maintain the largest military in the world and conduct numerous wars. Those wars hurt innocent people, especially our drone warfare and some of our sadistic snipers (pardoned by Trump). Is that violence never okay to you? Maybe not? Well, we were founded as a nation with the Revolutionary War and our Union was preserved by the Civil War. Profoundly, searingly violent events. Was that violence never okay to you?

        Is violence (including mortal injury) okay to defend your body or your life against harm? Is violence okay to defend a child from immediate harm? I think most of us would say yes to at least some of the above.

        And our country is deeply violent specifically against Black people. Police brutality. The carceral system. The domestic white terrorists in Charlottesville and Portland and the Jan. 6 insurrection. The “Proud Boys,” neo-Nazis, the KKK. Even the way Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was verbally pilloried by the Republicans recently. “Violence is never the answer” is a meaningless platitude when it comes to protecting Black lives. Never the answer? “Never”? Are people just supposed to allow themselves to be beaten to a pulp without lifting a finger to fight back?

        Power concedes nothing without a fight. I truly hope this is a moment for deep soul-searching for the movie industry as a whole but I won’t hold my breath.

      • Mary Tosti says:

        Sometimes it is the answer. My daughter saw a girl being assaulted at school by a boy. He punched her and then pulled her hair and was dragging her. My daughter kicked the boy in the back and then pulled the girl away. This girl could have been hurt worse had my daughter not intervened.
        My daughter was punished at school because of the “no violence policy” I was not happy about it but I get it. However I told her principal, she is not in any trouble on my end.

      • Tessa says:

        Personally, yes, I abhor the violence permeating our society, from wars abroad to the ridiculous mandate given to our police. Have done long before Will Smith punched Chris Rock. Also, some of these instances are about stopping violence, not starting it, but ok, I concede the point that violence may be the answer when it’s self-defense. However, I fail to see how that applies here, Chris didn’t hit Jada. I also am not sure what your reflections on power have to do with this situation. These were 2 rich and powerful black men settling a personal score, so which power, exactly, was supposed to concede something?

      • Ang says:

        Violence is only the answer if the other person was physically threatening the person you are defending. Chris Rock wasn’t charging toward Jada, he wasn’t touching her inappropriately, she was not in physical danger at all. Therefore, the violence was not warranted. He could have handled this while still defending his wife without resorting to violence.

      • lionfire says:

        Yeah, sometimes violence is the only answer. If Ukrainians believed that violence is never the answer, they wouldn’t still be here today, for example.
        let’s not get started with bullies-sometimes they only respond to violence.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      If that’s the case, then there are a whole hell of a lot of white men who need to give back their Oscars. Going back from the literal beginning with DW Griffith to now with Weinstein. Be consistent. But Will slaps someone and you all act like it’s the absolute worst thing ever to have happened.

      • Formerly Lithe says:

        Some violent people are more equal than others, donchaknow?

      • Elo says:

        If they take his award, they are gonna have to pull a lot of others belonging to people who have done way worse.
        Mel Gibson, Polanski, etc…
        I’m sick of people acting like he beat Rock with a bat or something. It was an open palmed slap brought on by Rock mocking a black woman’s hair and medical condition for laughs from white people. That is so messed up.

    • Judith says:

      It isn’t. But Chris Rock chose Violence first.

      Verbal Violence.

      Just because we’re so used to hearing this kind of language and dont classify it as ‘violent’ doesnt mean it isn’t.
      I’m not saying that I agree with Smiths reactions, but I also don’t blame him.

      Rock chose to commit verbal violence against a black women, who has very publicly struggled with her illness and the pain it has caused her. He knew this, you cant tell me he was unaware of this, he also knows as a black man how important hair and the acceptance of it is, especially for black women who are so often discriminated and shamed for it.

      Comedy should always punch up, never down, and most of all never ever actively harm and exploit people.

      • BaronSamedi says:

        Thank you!! Finally someone speaks about the violence that started it all. That was not a joke. That was an act of violence specifically designed to humiliate and hurt. I am so tired of seeing all the pearl clutching and focus on Will’s response.

        How about we don’t let men commit verbal assault on women on a national stage anymore and go from there.

        I feel like the answer was commensurate with the initial insult. Fuck around and find out.

      • Tessa says:

        Chris Rock mocking Jada isn’t punching down, they are equals. Not saying he was right, but I think it’s a bit insulting to Jada to say that he was punching down when he came after her.

      • Elle says:

        Judith I agree. And let’s not forget the power imbalance. The guy with the microphone in one of the most powerful podiums. He verbally abused whoever he felt like thinking he is invincible.

      • Angel says:

        Judith, the only difference here is that will can be sued for what he did and Chris won’t be. Will Smith should have walk up to him asked him to apologize in public and not assault him like that, it would have been more impactful. Everyone will remember that slap and not his Oscar win. And btw Will Smith apologized to Chris this morning. He knows what he did was wrong.

      • María says:

        Angel, I agree. I wish Will would have just gone on stage and said “You know what? My wife has a disease and it’s not okay to make fun of that”

      • Coffechamp says:

        Thank you Judith! Add to the fact the Chris did a whole ass hair (Black) documentary too. If Jada shaved her for fashion or due to her illness – Chris chose violence on the world’s stage.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Tessa, a black woman with a disability is not somehow equal to a black man. And yes, Rock punched down in this situation.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ Judith, BRAVA my Dear!!! Brava 👏👏👏👏👏

      • Gawsh says:

        MisogyNoir def.- Violence against WOC. So Thankyou CB for the exhale I needed on this topic. Chris, of all ppl, would KNOW @ Jada’s Alopecia- yes they socialise in the same circles AND Jada’s nat’l platform #Redtabletalks, relates to self-disclosure. W CR’s history of targeting Jada, PLUS his “joke”…I mean…enough is enough. Only good thing is the spark of this conversation, plus. Dear White ppl- this is NOT about you.

      • Yonati says:

        GREAT POINT!

      • Norma says:

        This slap was WRONG! Don’t mislabel comedy as violence as it was not that. Don’t excuse Will Smith action as normal discourse as it wasn’t – if we as humans cannot communicate our responses with words then it is a very sad commentary for our human race. He had NO right to use the Oscar stage as his ‘moment’. He could have just pulled Chris Rock aside later in a verbal discourse and got his point across. And people stop bringing up race – inexcusable.

    • Formerly Lithe says:

      Being privileged means you get to decide when violence is never the answer.

      Chris being allowed to make that joke in the first place was an act of violence in itself…putting Jada in her place for daring to speak out against the Oscars for being so white. And how fitting getting the same man to do it in her face who dragged her for it the last time.

      But no, violence is never the answer.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      Rock was using aggression, power and control in that moment.
      All the tools of an abuser.
      He chose that action and felt he could belittle a woman, for her illness, her looks, in front of millions watching worldwide and her family. He felt she could do nothing about it – as it was televised live – he gave himself permission and hid the aggression by – it was a joke, right?

      Sometimes aggression should be met with aggression, as a limited act of self defence.
      An open handed slap was just that.

    • SaySo says:

      It depends on the question.

    • Jess says:

      I’ve seen this statement made a lot since Sunday night and I understand I’m supposed to agree with it but I’ve been resistant for some reason that I couldn’t explain. But I’ve been reading now a lot of Black, disabled fem people’s take on this issue online and it’s helped me clarify my feelings – one of the big challenges in our society is that we like to focus on (some) types of physical violence while not accepting that there are lots of other violent acts that do real harm that aren’t called out because they’re socially acceptable. Segregation, for example, was incredibly violent even if it wasn’t always enforced physically. Florida’s horrendous “don’t say gay” law is also evil and violent as it may cause more deaths than a physical assault. Likewise, attacking a Black woman for having a chronic illness in front of her peers in an industry that puts a premium on looks (esp for Black women) is violent. So that doesn’t excuse Will’s actions but I think we need to back up and start discussing Rock’s original violence if we’re going to say violence is never ok.

    • Ameerah says:

      Y’all need to get a new line. Because it’s disingenuous and not based in reality

    • Nyro says:

      “Violence is never the answer”. White nonsense that gets spouted all over the internet solely when black people defend themselves.

      • Moss says:

        Violence is never LEGAL. How about that? In most (every?) society, a line is drawn at physical touch. Hence, Smith was guilty of breaking the law. The fact that he didn’t face any repercussion is proof of his ENORMOUS privilege.

      • Songs (Or It Didn't Happen) says:

        Violence is never the answer except in North America, where this is occured. Because looking around, it seems like violence is the first response in today’s world. A restaurant hostess asks you to wear a mask? Beat them in to unconsciousness. A flight attendant asks you to follow the rules? Spit on them. Don’t like that your candidate lost? Storm the capitol. Stuck in traffic because of a protest? Drive right in to the protestors. That’s the world around us.

  2. Tempest says:

    I see so much beauty in this world, but I’ve never found assault beautiful.

    • Moss says:

      Agreed. Seeing that made me want to puke. So upsetting.

    • Jess says:

      I wish I was the type of person that could say that, but the truth is, it is beautiful to me when a neoNazi gets punched in the face or an abusive boyfriend gets punched.

  3. SnarcasmQueen says:

    Haddish also said that in her world and growing up, GI Jane was specifically used to imply a lack of feminity and to call women gay.

    Someone else also mentioned that Chris Rock is also fully aware of how important hair is to black women and he still took his ass up there to mock a Black woman for existing.

    • Twin Falls says:

      A man calling a woman GI Jane is not generally a compliment and in the context of a “roasting” type environment, most definitely not one.

      Jada was being insulted and her husband would know better than anyone whether or not it would be upsetting to her.

      • Jan90067 says:

        Yeahhhh…. BUT…. When thy panned to WS, he was laughing, and it wasn’t just a *chuckle, it was a full on laugh. Jada rolled her eyes. The next thing we saw was WS charging the stage.

        So what changed between that laugh and the slap?

        I could *definitely* understand if they were both pissed, and WS just yelled what he did from his seat, and took CR to task afterwards, even in the press.

        But this was battery, on world-wide tv. There should be consequences. What? Not sure. Perhaps not allow him to present Best Actor next year? Be not allowed to attend next year? Don’t know really. I doubt anything will come of this “formal investigation” by the Academy other than a statement how they “don’t condone violence”.

      • Persephone says:

        “When thy panned to WS, he was laughing, and it wasn’t just a *chuckle, it was a full on laugh. Jada rolled her eyes. The next thing we saw was WS charging the stage”
        There are many reasons why it seemed that way to us watching – we are seeing it through camera switches, so it may seem Will was laughing. But consider he may have been laughing at the “joke” BEFORE that remark.
        Also consider that when that “joke” was said, he may have looked over at his wife and saw the hurt, or she may have even said something that only he could hear. We watching through the cameras didn’t see everything. Please consider that.
        I refuse to condemn him. I personally wouldn’t have slapped anyone, but then it didn’t happen to me, and I can understand why he did it.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      She’s right. GI Jane was used back then constantly to harm women who seemed “too masculine”. He knew what he was doing.

      • Christina says:

        It was used to insult women, but maybe not in your circles. I remember it being used in LA, by men and women, to insult women perceived as “too masculine”.

      • GirlMonday says:

        MaryAnne, check yourself.
        She said what she said. That was her experience which doesn’t require your weigh in. Don’t presume something never happened just because you didn’t experience it and don’t remember it.

      • Maria says:

        This is what I remember, also, MrsBanjo. I keep seeing all these people saying it’s a compliment to be likened to GI Jane and how she was beautiful and strong, but what I remember from when it came out, was people talking about how Demi had ruined herself and how horrible she looked and that she’d never work again.

    • Snappyfish says:

      The idea that violently attacking someone is somehow “showing love” is absurd. Using the idea of protecting is interesting. Will was not standing with the underdogs or the defenseless he was waving the flag for bullies. Clearly the 2016 dig was still close to the surface & this seems more about WHO said it than what was said. Let’s not forget Will laughed & then smacked Chris & then sauntered off stage quiet pleased w/himself. Body language speaks volumes

      • SourcesclosetoKate says:

        @snappyfish. Exactly. There are obviously situations you need to protect yourself from a violent attacker that warrants some form of violence, does that even need to be stated. Why are we being deliberately obtuse. The problem is Chris used his words and Will used physical violence. Both are bad but one is worse. Chris is not a big man but if he was a women he would be protected in all sorts of ways. If we keep going to physical violence to justify everything, than we’re basically condoning schoolyard bully fighting a weaker kid because he was offended by something or other the weaker kid said or did. Is that the kind of world we want to raise our son’s in? There is a way to lead by example. For both those men, but Will is more wrong.

      • emerson says:

        @SourcesclosetoKate Is it really? I’m old enough to remember that during this current pandemic VERBAL ASSAULT on social media (a huge platform), being the #1 reason for suicide amongst school aged children. A sin is a sin. Wrong is wrong.
        What’s worst is that people are defending a man, who intentionally publicly emotionally abused a woman.

  4. Colby says:

    2 things can be true:
    Black women are especially vulnerable in America and need to be protected more than they are- And violence is wrong.

    I was happy to see Will stand up for Jada, but wish he would have chosen another way.

    • girl_ninja says:

      Same. And the way this has rallied sooooo many white people to defend CR and condemn WS is quite eye opening. Especially the wording, examples and phrasing used.

      • Nyro says:

        White people of all stripes are banning together to defend Chris because he humiliated a black woman, and specifically about her looks, femininity, and hair. Period. Had he stood up there and tried to roast a white celebrity actress/wife like Rita Wilson for looking older than her age or something like that that cuts deep with white womrn, none of these white people would be standing with Chris and they sure as he’ll wouldn’t be calling Tom Hanks a violent brute, comparing him to OJ, implying that he hits his wife and kids, demanding that he be arrested and thrown in prison, etc. And they’d be calling for Chris to face severe punishment. This entire conversation would be completely different. This is completely about anti-blackness: misogynoir and painting black masculinity as an inherent threat.

      • AnneL says:

        White people aren’t in favor of what Chris Rock said, they’re just against how Will Smith responded to it. I’ve seen a wide range of responses, from saying it wasn’t even meant as an insult to holding that it was inexcusable and Rock should apologize as well. I’ve also seen quite a few white people say Smith was right to smack him.

        The idea that white people as a whole are “rallying” around Chris Rock BECAUSE he insulted a black woman regarding her hair and illness is ridiculous. The broad consensus is that Rock made a dumb and offensive joke that he shouldn’t have made, but that Will Smith was out of line to get up on stage and hit him. Not just because it’s assault, but because it was the Oscars and Smith’s actions soured and overshadowed a lot of important moments, for him and for other people who worked hard to win their awards.

    • Jess says:

      The Root has a great article contextualizing all of this and pointing out that violence can cause negative consequences that create bigger problems for the person being “protected.” Jada is owed apologies by all involved. For the producer of Good Hair to make this “joke” is just so gross and repulsive. I love stand up comedy but I can’t respect any comedy that punches down.

      • NotSoSocialB says:

        Thank you for capturing so tidily all the thoughts I have about this. Rock was rude af. Will made a spectacle of himself, and inadvertently, Jada. I’d be embarrassed if my spouse did that, and it would make me wary of his temper and general temperament from that point on- I’d feel like i didn’t truly know my spouse in that instance (raised in a violent home).

      • Cait says:

        The documentary is the root of why I cannot stand Chris rock and cold care less when he got smacked. He made a spectacle of Black women . I do not see white male celebrities making Documentaries about white women getting Botox, fillers and other cosmetic procedures . Or Korean male celebrities making docs about South Korea being the plastic surgery capital of the world . Rather than make a documentary why not examine your own parenting as to why his daughter’s allegedly have those beliefs ? Chris Rock sitting back and smirking while Louie CK said the N-word over and over again on live television is another reason I despise Chris rock. AnD while were at it lets talk about Chris’s nose Job .

    • SarahLee says:

      ^^This^^ is my take as well. Rock crossed a nasty line. I wish Will would have responded in a different way. I like that he did respond.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Exactly. It’s totally ok for Rock to face consequences… But those should have been never being invited to the AA ever again (which, I certainly hope will be the case but I doubt it). Will could have used his power in the industry and his Oscar win to make sure that it’s the case and make sure that wherever he or Jada goes, Chris won’t be invited. It would have hurt Rock’s visibility and his wallet and bring far less embarrassment to Jada

  5. H says:

    I understand that Tiffany is friends with the Smiths as her and Jada did Girls Trip together, but no. Violence is not “beautiful.”

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      Yeah, that’s a pretty effed up idea of love.

    • Jackson says:

      Completely agree. I also think most celebrities in that space don’t mind seeing a comedian, any comedian, get popped for making fun of them.
      Honestly just wish all of these awards shows would do away with all of their ‘bits.’ I always cringe when hosts, presenters, etc, try to be funny and casual or conversational. We know you’ve rehearsed your generally eye-rolling lines. You all aren’t that great live and in one take. So cringe. Just walk out, present award, next presenter up.

    • Imara219 says:

      I mean she explained how, as a Black woman, it was beautiful to see and why.

    • Anne says:

      The whole point of awards shows in the last couple decades is hiring a comic or a couple of comics to keep the ball rolling, say funny things and make fun of extremely wealthy movie stars. That why everyone thought it was a comic bit at first when Smith rushed the stage. Plus I had caught a glimpse of JPS earlier and thought how stunning she looked, so didn’t quite get the context of the joke. IDK, maybe stop with endless awards shows or stop with the usually unfunny hosts (Although Tina and Amy at Golden Globes was one for the record books)? Also the whole idea that she had to be protected by her male partner seemed super outdated. She seems like someone that could have taken care of her own business. Still mad that Summer of Soul win got lost in this mess.

    • Lux says:

      I’m a WOC who is not black. I really don’t understand why people are making sweeping generalizations of what kind of people are supporting whom; I am thankful for the comments that show nuance and different opinions. The Smith family and their enormous privilege and influence allowed him walk on that stage, smack someone, walk off and party the night away, in full view of everyone. I don’t find any of that beautiful. Chris is a bully: there are ways to handle bullies that doesn’t involve smacking them. Will has all the power and the greatest platform in the world; he snapped and abused it. That is not a normal or right response and people need to justifying his toxic behavior. He himself admitted it was wrong.

      • tascha says:

        Lux: Thank you. SO sick of the blatant, blanket bigotry of comments about how white women should stay out of this particular conversation, or how most white women–b/c they “don’t care” about BW’s feelings—are siding w/ Chris Rock!?!?//Where TF are some people gleaning this misinformation, or are they simply–more likely–making it up? I’m not black, but I’m not white either, and am tired of how a few BW on this site are always twisting stories to blame and/or exclude and condemn whites, esp. white women. Disagreement and differing opinions among any group of people are common, and to pretend every differing view is surely, sheerly due to “racism,” cheapens the gravity of true racism itself. Various voices should at least be heard out, rather than responded to with *immediate* divisiveness and prejudice and hatred, as that only serves to polarize people further, not to unify them.

      • EMF999 says:

        Thank you Lux – well said.

  6. NCWoman says:

    The first choice in standing up for your wife should not be physical violence, period. Chris Rock was using words, and Jada was not in imminent physical danger. Standing up and defending is absolutely great, but assaulting someone should be the absolute last resort. And the fact that it was Will’s first choice to address the situation suggests a highly volatile emotional state. It’s a red flag that Jada may be vulnerable to abuse from Will. I think we can support Jada and even Will without normalizing unnecessary physical violence as the means by which any man “protects” any woman. Will seems like a decent, good man, but he also appears to need help right now because that’s unacceptable.

    • ArtMaven says:

      The humor overall was oppressively mediocre and it was planned and condoned by the event PRODUCERS.
      There were also about another half dozen cracks at actors that could have hurt their feelings as well. I think these awards shows should rethink their need to make fun of celebs personally. Will was wrong. He could have supported Jada’s words in response after the event if she wanted to make them. I also don’t don’t think this event is a good example of something upon which to hang a culture wars trope. It was all pretty dumb.

      Of course Will keeps his Oscar. Who wants a second place Oscar?

  7. Zadie says:

    Tiffany is funny but dumb.

    • ipetgoat2 says:

      Excuse me? This is a Black woman commenting on how she perceives a culturally and politically nuanced topic affecting another Black woman. Who are you to say her take is dumb? (Actually not even just that, youre saying she is just dumb, generally)

      • Zadie says:

        I don’t care what color someone is if they’re going to call an act of violence beautiful I will call them out because it is DUMB.
        We live in an excessively violent country & it needs to change.
        By supporting this act if violence you are revealing your own violent upbringing and I think that’s so sad.
        Society won’t improve if you maintain your attitude.

      • ipetgoat2 says:

        Oh you colorblind zadie? 😀 got it

    • BrickyardUte says:

      You can disagree with someone without resorting to name calling.

      • A n B fn says:

        Will could have used his Oscar speech, (he was a sure win), and the occasion to educate everyone that his wife’s is beautiful without having a head full of hair and why. Violence is not the answer.

    • J says:

      That’s my take as well. I like her when I see her in movies, on talk shows, etc., but in interviews, she just says such dumb sh**.

    • TeamMeg says:

      Yesterday, I was in a Clubhouse room on this topic. I stayed in the audience and listened. Most (if not all) of the speakers I heard were Black, and pretty much all were in favor of “the smack”—male and female alike. Their feeling was that a good, noble, gallant man is expected to “protect his wife” and not allow someone to disrespect her in public, in line with what Tiffany is saying. I was initially surprised, but I learned a lot in that room. In white culture, Will’s actions were absolutely unacceptable. In black culture, it may be a different story. That said, Will issued an apology in a statement that seemed heartfelt and with which I agree—violence is never the right choice. But I am a white woman. Will’s apology supports my world view. My world view is not the only world view.

      People need to come together. Perhaps this entire event will help build a bridge towards greater understanding, tolerance and peace. May it be so.

      • Cait says:

        Thats jut id black people and even non-black people of color do not seem to be all up in arms about this. White people on the other hand are out feigning outrage and centering themselves per usual . They love to wag their fingers at black people in any circumstance, so nothing they say or do surprises me

      • Elo says:

        In what white culture exactly? Perhaps it’s a class thing but I’m white and my values line up with Will.
        I would never let someone disrespect my spouse like that (mocking their medical condition) publicly for laughs. Talk sh!t get hit.

      • Carmen says:

        Really? I am black and almost every one of my black friends is disgusted at Smith’s actions.

    • Sybil says:

      I don’t think she’s dumb. You have to be pretty clever and quick as a comic to do as well as she has. I do think that she’s changed a lot since her arrival and first successes. I also believe that she’s not well mentally and has substance abuse issues that can be seen publicly (and through legal records).
      Finally, as someone who was there, this is a town of pretend on multiple levels. The violence we play at is rehearsed over and over. It’s rarely intended as you could risk everything. Few people have said much because the situation went from shocking (what just happened?!), to alarming (what is going to happen next ?!), to you better keep your mouth shut or you’ll be labeled racist (even if you’ve worked decades to bring a balance to the industry).
      And for those who think his actions were chivalrous, he laughed and clapped. Laughed and clapped then performed a right cross with an open palm follow through. That’s not chivalry. That’s goon behavior. An award ceremony is on par with a tea party. It is polite society. And he effed himself. Smith will never escape this event.

      • Zadie says:

        Excellent points Syblil! 👏🏼

      • Lux says:

        Thank you, Sybil. The fact that people are still defending his actions when he issued a public apology is shocking. It’s good to hear from someone who was there. Show some decorum, even under circumstances of disrespect. Be the bigger man. I stand with anyone regardless of race and gender who is disgusted by his behavior. In what century are we living in where what he did was beautiful, gallant or chivalrous? He needs help.

    • girl_ninja says:

      Really? And you are the smart one here? Tiffany is standing up for her friend in Jada and other black women. What do you stand for? I bet you won’t call her dumb to her face.

    • Caran says:

      I will say this, because I’m not a fan of the word dumb, but TH is irresponsible and wholly inciting in her response to Will Smith’s aggressive attack.
      Overal, it drives me nuts that people actually listen to these celebs and believe that they’re wise. Actors dress up and play characters with massive amounts of help. The Oscars are literally a clown show, and Will Smith took it down to carnival side show level. It’s like going from Jenny Jones to Jerry Springer.

    • FeatherDuk says:

      Better watch out, one of these people may find you and slap you. People feel entitled to do that. I guess Trump was right. When you’re famous, they let you do anything. Grab em by the P**y . . .

  8. HelloDolly! says:

    I said this yesterday, but big fuck you to Rock, and yes, the sexist “joke” that is actually bullying is at Jada and other women’s expense. If a man sat with a shaved head, this would not resonate. The supposed comedy relies on suggesting a sick black woman is butch and masculine because of her hairstyle, and yes, Rock knew of her illness. He normalized making fun of black women’s appearances and hair, despite having made an entire documentary about the importance of hair to the black community.

    • Emma says:

      Chris Rock almost certainly knew Jada had alopecia. These are indeed tight knit circles, and Jada has been very open about it. The average American might not know, of course, but Black Hollywood would’ve known.

  9. Jais says:

    Jada was exploited. Co-sign. Has the academy even asked how she is?

    • Emma says:

      Yes. This should be a national conversation about respecting Black women, but instead the academy has decided to pretend her pain doesn’t signify anything to them.

      • CherriePie84 says:

        Didnt Chris Rock also make fun of Jada the last time he hosted the Oscars? I think that was some 6 years ago and he comes back in 2022 and “picks” on her. Someone upthread explained it much better than I could but we should ask ourselves whether he would have mocked a white actress like that in front of her husband and peers on live television.

  10. Mindy_DeLaCalle says:

    I’m again disappointed about the world. This is like Tiger King all over again. Why are we applauding crazy behavior? Will lost it. The man who carefully molded his career for this specific moment literally snapped and had a meltdown for all to see and now the moment of his career will forever be framed in this light.

    There are so many other way to protect and defend your family and the lengths people are willing to overlook that and legitimize violence as the only answer is gross. Toxic masculinity was in full display here. Their marriage is toxic AF.

    People are also putting the blame on Jada as if Will isn’t a grown ass man.

    • Nyro says:

      Forever framed by who? White folks? Because everybody else seems to know that one moment doesn’t make a person’s life and have moved on. Y’all are the ones who want to label this man a thug and a dangerous brute for what he did for 45 seconds vs his over 50 years of life…all because he had the nerve to see his wife was hurting and wanted to hurt the man who caused it.

      Maybe y’all need to step back as a white community and ask yourselves why you need Will Smith to be those 45 seconds instead of what he’s been for 50 years.

      • Meg says:

        Such bullshit. Nobody is reducing Smith to those 45 seconds. Stop hiding behind that false premise.

      • tascha says:

        Nyro—Oh, just stop it. NONE of the many white women and men I know thought for one *instant* that Will Smith is now to be forever defined by his slapping Chris Rock, and not by his nearly 50 years of artistic achievement. Where do you get all this fake, racist, “all white people think…” B.S., anyway, besides your own head? B/c it most certainly is NOT the reaction of the vast majority of whites. Maybe you should spew your outright prejudice in more appropriate and relevant places/threads. It only highlights your resentful ignorance here.

    • FeatherDuk says:

      I just wonder what someone who feels so entitled to be openly violent over a throw away “joke” does behind closed doors. Is he violent there too?

  11. NorthernGirl_20 says:

    The joke was inappropriate and the slap was uncalled for. Will should’ve been escorted out for it. Violence is not the answer to anything ffs – he should have just gone up and educated about alopecia and what Jada has been through not smacked Chris Rock. This was mishandled.

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      That would have been a perfect response, imo… educating others and humiliating the ass who made a joke at Jada’s expense.

  12. Clucky says:

    I would have been absolutely MORTIFIED if my husband did what Will Smith did in any context, much less at a professional event being broadcast to millions of people.

    Yes, I would want him to be upset on my behalf (if I was upset) but I would NEVER want him to handle it in a violent fashion. It’s such a dangerous precedent. What’s next? Smacking the waiter who brought me cold food? “Baby, I was just defending your honor.” Please.

    I need to trust that I can been seen in public with my husband without being worried that he’s going to assault people for any possible slight. Ridiculous!!

    • Ann H says:

      If Tiffany thought it was such a beautiful thing, imagine how elated she’d be if Will put Chris in the hospital.. “My Man… swoon.

  13. Laugh Lines says:

    Nope, just Nope. Sorry Tiffany, love you and your work dearly but that kind of sentiment is a hard pass for me. Grew up in an abusive home and yes, while bruises fade and blood can be wiped up better than emotional and psychological scars, I have NO respect for someone who deliberately walks on up to another person in order to clock them in the face. He purposely strode up the stage, smacked a person’s face and then confidently strode back to his seat with a small smile on his face and a hand resting easy on his chest, as if to say to himself “Well, I Showed THAT f&cker who’s in charge”. Been there, done that, seen that face coming, bought the t-shirt with tears and it is NOT something to be admired.

    • Seraphina says:

      I too have seen violence first hand – once. Thank God only once. It haunted me and left a lasting impression. Love Tiffany and respect her for all she has gone through in life and to be able to make it but this gets a hard pass from me. Violence is never beautiful.

      • Kristin says:

        Thanks for linking this. This article is excellent and everyone on this thread (particularly all the pearl clutching “violence is never the answer” crowd) needs to take a moment and read it.

      • Tessa says:

        This article is quite ridiculous. So, words are violence and can trigger, but violence isn’t violence if it’s on tv, don’t you dare be triggered by it? We expect Smith to deal with a public insult in a private matter? No we don’t, he can deal with it as publicly as he wants, just not violently. And this? “Because they can’t imagine a world where a Black woman, Jada, is so loved that her husband would get up and slap someone to defend her honor. They’re used to being the Regency romance lead. To be faced with anything else, especially a Black woman being defended? That’s earth-shattering to them.” No, it’s freaking not. It got just as self-righteous as the women it condemns.

      • Formerly Lithe says:

        Thank you, Amy Bee. I bookmarked it so I can read it again.

      • Lux says:

        @ Tessa
        I felt the exact same thing regarding that exact same excerpt, even though I am not white. Although I do think the author had main points re: misogynoir that are valid and should be heard, she also tried to minimize the “small, minor slap” which is a hard NO. People keep referring others to that article without address the extremely problematic parts of it, which makes me think they agree with all of it and yes, to quote what you said, makes it “as self-righteous as the women it condemns.”

    • GirlMonday says:

      I am absolutely amazed by the number of white women who have protected themselves onto this situation with their own experiences of violence–THIS. IS. NOT. ABOUT. YOU. Did a white-woman-wide memo go out? My God.

      • Laugh Lines says:

        I’m not white and race has nothing to do with the point I’m voicing. It’s about violence and trying to justify it because of the notion that your emotional response to something you didn’t like, find hurtful or triggering (insert whatever description you want here) provides an “understandable” excuse for hitting someone who hasn’t threatened or committed physical violence against you. Anyone and everyone can find reasons to hit someone if they try hard enough. Is that really who we want to be?

      • GirlMonday says:

        I said what I said.

      • AnneL says:

        I don’t see how this is even about race. I don’t care what race Smith is, or Rock is. Someone suggested if Tom Hanks had smacked Rock for insulting Rita we’d be OK with it. Hell no, I would not be. I’d be shocked and think he sullied his reputation. One reason people are reacting to this is Smith comes across as a nice, reasonable guy just like Hanks does. I was stunned by how he chose to handle the insult to his wife.

        Just because people are bringing up their personal experiences of violence doesn’t mean they think what happened is “about them.” When you form a judgment on a situation, your personal experiences help inform your opinion. Women in general have more to fear when it comes to violence, especially from men. White women get abused too.

        I’ve tried to put myself in Will’s shoes and in Jada’s here. I feel for both of them. I can see why they’d be shaken and angry. But I still don’t think it was OK for Will to get up on stage and smack Chris Rock. And honestly, if I were Jada, I’d be mortified.

        This isn’t about race. White women are entitled to their opinions on this. If you want to make it about race, that’s on you.

  14. BlueNailsBetty says:

    They may not have known Chris was going to use a bald joke. They may have just known he was going to rib Will and that is why the camera was on Will and Jada.

  15. Amy Bee says:

    I agree with Tiffany.

  16. MissMarirose says:

    Variety reported that Rock ad-libbed that joke. He made a different joke in rehearsal. So, I don’t think you can lay this out on the Oscar producers. That would also explain why WIll and Jada had the reactions they did. They probably felt blindsided.
    Also, I think Tiffany is not condoning the smack, but the shouting. She’s only quoting what Smith said. It seems to me she’s walking a fine line here.

    • Hyrule Castle says:

      And suddenly we are believing the white men that power Hollywood?
      That they wouldn’t really throw the Black victim under the bus make themselves look better?

      They knew. Of course they did.

  17. Maria Lujan says:

    violence is not the answear less of all “in the name of love” .
    his action stole the moment for so many people .

    Congratulations to Troy Kotsur for his oscar.

    • Amy Bee says:

      What Chris Rock did to Jada was an act of violence as well.

    • Lightpurple says:

      And to Questlove and all involved in The Summer of Soul, Best documentary, the award Rock was presenting. His acceptance speech and his mother’s joy were truly moving.

    • The whole thing says:

      Is too bad. Unfortunately, it also drew attention away from the Williams sisters and their story. Which is a shame.

    • Yonati says:

      Classic abuser language: “Love makes you do crazy things.” That wasn’t love; that was ego.

  18. Lizzie Bathory says:

    As a white woman, what I’m *not* here to do is to police how a Black woman describes her reaction to seeing a Black man respond to a “friend” making a cruel, public joke about his wife’s illness.

  19. Eggbert says:

    Chris deserve to be slapped.

  20. Asking for a Friend says:

    Chris Rock’s joke was a form of violence. Look up ahimsa. So I guess I’m this case violence begets violence. And if you’re not feeling me, remember how so many of you were up in arms about things Joe Rogan said. Words. Do. Matter.

    • Oria says:

      I agree.

      There’s a huge difference to verbally abusing someone (repeatedly) with intention and a sudden poorly managed emotional response, like this slap.

      This is why verbal and emotional abuse is so common; people compare it to acts of physical violence and deem it as less harming.
      This why victim blaming exists.
      This is evidence mental health is not taken as seriously as physical health.

      I hope the conversation turns around now.
      In the light of the meeto and the Black Lives matter-movement, Chris’ actions are the ones who needs to be talked about. Loudly.

      “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
      Oh, we understand, Chris.

  21. LeonsMomma says:

    Jada is not well liked. the joke was left in on purpose.
    Please note I do not think she deserved the joke.

    • KK says:

      She is borderline AF.

    • Imara219 says:

      Reading Will’s bio, I gained a lot of newfound appreciation for Jada. I just never cared for her, I mean she was alright, started in so many amazing projects in the mid to late 90s that were for the Culture but as a person, she seemed kind of serve. However, listening to Will’s audiobook, I finally got it. I finally got her and honestly, I checked myself and my biases in how I processed her personality. Jada is just different and has a different mindset and axiom

  22. Diana says:

    Seriously?! There are millions of other ways to have addressed this. Chris made a dumbass joke and Will assaulted him for it. Both were wrong, one committed a crime. End of.

    • Oria says:

      One chose to verbally abuse someone with an illness (again) with intention, the other had a poor emotional response in the moment to the abuse.

      How is that equally as bad, do you think?

    • Cheryl says:

      Thank you. This man could have been celebrated hero with adored halo energy had he used the fact that millions and millions of eyes were on him in this moment and would be soon again during his upcoming acceptance speech to address the poor taste joke. He could have used wit. He could have used sincerity. He could have educated us to this medical condition. He could have validated his wife by affirming her no matter what hair style because of her awesomeness. What he chose to do (laugh) (then react to her cue) (then premeditated assault) (then premeditated f bombs) is “as bad”. What the event organizers then chose to do, pretend the man they paid to be there and make jokes about the front row guests had not been physically assaulted while doing that job is also “as bad”.

      • Nonartistic Diane says:

        Chris Rock was not paid to make jokes about the front row guests. He was there to present a category. All he had to do was read the teleprompters. He chose to go off script and insult Jada’s physical appearance. And yes he meant to be insulting.

  23. Bre says:

    For centuries, humans have had only a few voices and views to shape our idea of what is right and wrong in society. For most, that was white men in the church and in government leadership roles. Now we have the ability to have many different voices giving context to these types of situations from their own lived experiences. We are learning about the effects of emotional abuse and mental health in general. Each day we see a new “scandal” or hot take that we all seem to be fighting in the weeds over. I think in the long run this is good, we are trying to come together and decide what we expect in society, entertainment, and art but in the meantime it is messy. Janet Jackson was torn apart over the Super Bowl Incidence and I hope we have at least grown enough since then to not let this story do the same.

  24. Nydine says:

    This website and comment section has jumped the shark.

  25. Honey says:

    I disagree with Tiffany that it was beautiful. Publicists are paid truckloads of money to diffuse and redirect. Will’s could have engineered an offstage discussion with Rock and Will/Jada to explain the insult. Media would have covered it and brought awareness to alopecia, which, apparently, Jada has a passion for. Other ways it could be handled and promoted. So, no, not beautiful.

  26. Jess says:

    If someone insulted DMX wife (RIP or some other tough guy) all of these people trashing Will would be quiet as a mouse. They think Will is a weak guy so they’re taunting him by saying he acted like an animal and should lose his award. Most of these comics insult women for a living and if their husbands all did what Will did they would be in a coma.

    I’m with Will. Chris is a loser comic who insults women for a career. He deserved someone to put him in his place.

  27. Kitten says:

    Mostly terrible takes on this topic and mostly from white women. Some of the racist memes I saw on FB coming from liberal suburban women—lordy.

    It really IS ok for us to just SFTU on this topic and amplify the opinions of black women if you agree with them.
    Sometimes less is more, friends.

    • Green Desert says:

      Thanks, @Kitten for one of only a few good takes on this thread. I enjoy when you post, you always nail it.

  28. AmelieOriginal says:

    I know the situation isn’t black and white but for me it’s two wrongs don’t make a right. Chris was wrong to go after Jada with that stupid joke (someone he’s joked about repeatedly) and Will was wrong to storm on stage and smack Chris. Maybe Chris didn’t know Jada had alopecia (I didn’t and tend to ignore the Smiths because they are so into oversharing) but to mention a woman’s physical appearance like that on the world’s biggest stage? Incredibly tone deaf and offensive.

    Will already apologized and I think Chris also needs to apologize, especially to Jada (hopefully he did that already in private). The longer he waits, the worse it looks.

  29. Christina says:

    WS and CR have a long history. It’s complicated and personal.

    I admire both men and Jada, though Jada and Will have shared a lot that makes me uncomfortable. But Jada is trying to open up conversations in the Black community about mental health and relationships as she understands them, as her family is trying to process them, and that is messy. She is brave, not perfect, but beautiful in knowing that she has eyes on her but still shares things that aren’t perfect about her life as a high profile person and as a Black woman.

    What happened to Jada needs to be centered in this.

    As for violence, it’s complicated. Jada wasn’t in danger. But Will responded to the pain on her face. And women don’t get to fight back the way the men can. There is the argument that what he did infantalizes Jada, that she should be able to take care of herself. She can, but these three have a history that is partially known to a lot of people. I counsel my kid that violence only makes things worse in most cases. But what CR did to JS was verbal violence. For crying out loud, legislation is being written and many of us are fighting for Black women not to be judged because they want to wear their own hair, as is, and don’t deserve the rampant discrimination they get for wearing natural hair, or balding. My mother had alopecia, and she didn’t let it get to her, but she didn’t have the prominent hair loss that Jada had in front. I remember how joyful I was to see Charlaine Hunter Gault in dreds on The Newshour. It brought tears to my eyes. That had to be 15-20 years ago. Doing that was courageous.

    Regardless of what happens between the men in this story, we need to elevate what Jada is trying to do, IMHO.

  30. Imara219 says:

    Sigh, I believe The Atlantic has an article already about the two different sides of this issue. White America is receiving this in one way and Black America is processing it differently, hence our different reactions. I wish yte people at this point will just tap out of the discussion because there is a lot of nuance and cultural differences added to this discussion from the Black Diaspora that they just are not picking up on.

  31. Celestupid says:

    I would never ever want to be “defended” this way by my husband

  32. Yonati says:


  33. Chimney says:


    This is it exactly. If yt people were able to acknowledge that Black is a race AND a culture maybe they’d get why their opinions on this are half-baked and wrong. Black culture is an honor-based culture. That’s consistent across the globe

    • Imara219 says:

      You know what, that is perfectly stated. Yes, I don’t think some yt people get that there is Black ethnically and culturally and it influences perceptions. The phrase “keep my name out of your mouth” means something so specific to us and is deeply rooted in our cultural belief system. Also, the other layered conversation of the “Good Negro” or the “Putting on Airs for the yt folk” vs. warrior-strength. Lastly, feminism tenets don’t quite apply here in the same way that perhaps womanism covers regarding “valor of our men protecting us”. Just so many Black cultural layers.

  34. Meg says:

    I’m still thinking Chris took advantage of being on stage to mock wills wife’s looks, because let’s say they ran into each other in public and Chris said this of course will would have hit him and I don’t think I’d blame him for that. Making fun of someone’s wife’s looks? Come on! Chris thought theyre stuck they can’t react because we’re at the Oscars so I’ll say something about his wife’s looks and he can’t do anything about it. That’s BS IMO. So I think the anger here is the scenario this took place in and Chris took advantage of the situation IMO

  35. Ann says:

    I was trying to figure out why Chris Rock was even presenting nominees for best doc. Was it because he made one or because he had hosted before? Either way, I think Wanda & Regina could have handled the whole thing beautifully without Amy.

  36. K-law says:

    Full disclosure: white woman.
    I have 2 opinions on this: Chris Rock was wrong to make the joke and Will Smith was wrong to react the way he did. As someone who is not a POC but has been learning more about my race naivety over the last few years, I feel grieved for whatever negative effects this incident might cause or reinforce on existing stereotypes.

    I also really appreciate hearing WOC/POC perspectives and opinions on it. Not TH’s, but regular people commenting here and elsewhere. There’s a lot of nuance, and I’m sure there’s more backstory between the Smiths and CR that we’re unaware of as well.

    I’m not qualified to make any other statements. I don’t know why while people feel compelled to weigh in on whether it’s a race issue. The last few years should have taught us white folk to shut our mouths and listen when this topic comes up. I regret the fact that it took me so long to get here.

  37. WithLove says:

    The academy invited Chris despite knowing his history bullying not only Jada, but other black women.
    They knew.
    Will asked him politely to stop coming for his wife years ago and he ignored him and kept coming for Jada.

  38. Bree says:

    Her statement is very problematic. What this woman is implying is that we as a society should expect from black men to use their fists instead of wit to resolve disagreements.