Comedians Respond to Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock On Oscars Stage: “Now We All Have to Worry”
Some comedians fear that the slap could inspire rowdy behavior at comedy clubs.
Comedians Express Concern
The instantly famous moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards quickly became a springboard for reactions, think pieces, and hot Twitter takes. Comedians, in particular, have had a lot to say about the incident.
Rock made a joke comparing Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, to GI Jane because of her buzzed hairstyle. The actress has been open about her journey with alopecia, which causes hair loss. Following the joke, Smith got on stage and smacked Rock, yelling that he should “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Moments later, Smith accepted the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard.”
Some comics fear that Smith’s actions — and the lack of immediate consequences to them — will inspire other troublemakers at comedy shows to get physical with performers.
“It’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian,” Kathy Griffin wrote. “Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”
Comedian George Wallace echoed those fears in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
“As Rock got hit, I got hit. We comedians, we felt the pain,” he said.
“You don’t know what’s going to offend somebody,” Wallace continued. “People in the audience feel free to speak out now, they feel bold now.”
Podcaster Joe Rogan said Smith should have been asked to leave the ceremony.
“You can’t just smack a man in the face in front of the world and go about business as usual,” he said on his podcast. “First of all, it sets a terrible precedent in so many ways. It sets a terrible precedent for comedy clubs. Like, are people going to decide to go on stage and smack a comedian now?”
Other Responses From Comics
Stand-up star Whitney Cummings did not say she feared rowdy hecklers but was instead worried about the consequences of taking jokes “literally.”
“I mean, it’s amazing that Twitter attacking comedians for making jokes here about last night don’t see that they’re doing the same shit Will did last night,” she tweeted. “When people take jokes literally, society is just over.”
Other comedians took sides, with many expressing support for Chris Rock.
“Seriously though, I applaud Chris Rock for recovering, keeping the show moving,” James Corden said during his “The Late Late Show” monologue. “It was an incredibly dignified response. I’ll say this, Will Smith can’t take a joke, Chris Rock can take a punch.”
One of the few comedy stars taking Smith’s side was actress Tiffany Hadish, who told PEOPLE that she thought his defense of his wife was “the most beautiful thing.”
“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me,” she told the outlet.
“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.”
Smith apologized to Rock in a statement on Instagram Monday. He said his behavior at the show 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 wrote.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,” he continued. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”
He also apologized to his “King Richard” cast and crew, as well as the Williams family, whose story is chronicled in the film. He expressed regret that his actions “stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
The Academy launched a formal review into the incident but it is unclear what kind of action might be taken pending its findings.
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (Us Weekly) (Dexerto)
Max to Agrees to “Properly” Credit Writers and Directors After Facing Backlash For Lumping Them in As “Creators”
The company said the credits were laid out incorrectly due to “an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max.”
After film and television writers slammed Max for crediting all writers, producers, and directors as general “creators” on its platform, the company said it will be adjusting its credits display.
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” the streaming service said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Max — the new rebrand of HBO Max that incorporates Discovery content — launched on Tuesday to much criticism. Amid glitches and app-switching confusion, the biggest backlash it faced was over the choice to lump creative roles into one credit section called “creators.” As one viral tweet noted, if a user were to select the film “Raging Bull,” the service’s display would not specifically credit Martin Scorsese as the director, rather, his name would be included at random with half a dozen other people, including writers and producers.
The decision was condemned by many in the industry who argued it minimizes writers and directors by not properly giving them credit where it is due. Especially amid the ongoing writers’ strike, and with directors and actors starting negotiations with studios, some took it as a slap in the face.
“The studios don’t want anyone to know our names,” writer Christina Strain tweeted. “It’s easier to pay us nothing if we’re faceless.”
“Another move from studios to diminish the role of writers, directors, actors and other craftspeople. Miss me wit this nonsense,” Jorge Rivera, the Vice-Chair of the Writers Guild’s Latinx Writers Committee, added.
In a statement, Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter said that Warner Bros. Discovery’s choice to “collapse” these roles into one credit “while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union.”
“The DGA will not stand for it,” Glatter continued.
WGA West President Meredith Stiehm claimed the move was “a credits violation,” as well as an insult “to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions.”
On Wednesday, Max said it would rework its crediting.
“We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake,” the platform said.
See what others are saying: (Gizmodo) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Los Angeles Times)
A Quarter of Young British Men Support Andrew Tate’s Thoughts on Women
U.K. residents at large, however, do not view him favorably.
Even under house arrest in Romania, misogynist influencer Andrew Tate still holds substantial sway over young men.
According to data from YouGov that was obtained by The Independent, 26% of U.K. men between 18 and 29 years old who know of Tate agree with his views on women. That figure was largely the same for men between 30 and 39, as 28% agreed with Tate’s opinions on the subject.
Men in their 30s were slightly more likely to agree with Tate on his thoughts about masculinity. Three out of ten supported those views, compared to just a quarter of men 18 to 29.
Those statistics only include the thoughts of men who have heard of Tate, but per YouGov, most have. In the 18 to 29 group, 93% were familiar with him, and 86% of men in their 30s knew of him.
The U.K. at large was less aware of Tate, with just 63% of British adults having heard of him. Of that group, only 6% held a positive view of him.
Tate has faced substantial backlash for his sexist rhetoric over the years. In the past, he said that men should have “authority” over their wives or girlfriends, and that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. He was previously banned from Twitter over his extremist views on women but has since been allowed back on the platform.
He is currently being investigated in Romania for organized crime and human trafficking. He was arrested and held in custody in December but was released to house arrest earlier this year. No formal charges have been filed against him yet and he has maintained his innocence.
Tate currently boasts a Twitter following of 6.7 million. It has grown significantly since he was enveloped in legal controversy, and many of his supporters have demanded his release.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Glamour U.K.)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Involved in “Near Catastrophic” Paparazzi Chase
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” a spokesperson for the couple said.
“Aggressive” Paparazzi Chase Couple in New York
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi car chase Tuesday night in New York City, according to a spokesperson for the couple.
In a statement, the spokesperson described the photographers as “highly aggressive.”
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” the statement added.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” it continued.
Details of the incident are still emerging, but BBC News reported that there are claims the chase involved roughly six cars driving recklessly by running red lights, driving on the sidewalk, carrying out blocking moves, going backward on a one-way road, and taking pictures while driving.
The chase happened after Harry and Meghan were leaving the Women of Vision Awards with Meghan’s mother, Doria. They did not want photographers to learn where they were staying and attempted to avoid them in what turned into a 75-minute chase on a main road in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. They eventually ducked into a New York Police Department Precinct to hide out before getting into a different vehicle.
The NYPD released a statement confirming that they assisted in protecting the couple as “numerous photographers” hindered their transport. Officials said they made it to their destination and there were no collisions, injuries, or arrests.
The couple’s spokesperson is asking the public to not share or post footage of the incident.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the spokesperson said.
Memories of Princess Diana
The chase evokes the brutal press hounding Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was subjected to throughout her life. The paparazzi’s obsession with her ultimately resulted in her death in 1997, when she was killed in a car crash after being chased by photographers in Paris.
Since marrying Meghan and later bowing out of the Royal Family, Harry has made it explicitly clear that he fears those events could happen again. Meghan has been the subject of endless tabloid scrutiny, enduring racism and harassment from the press. Part of the reason they left the Royal Family was to keep their family protected from such attacks.
Mayor Eric Adams brought up Diana’s tragic passing while speaking about Tuesday night’s chase.
“I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how [Harry’s] mom died,” Adams said while speaking to reporters. “And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well…I think that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
Adams also questioned whether or not he believes a chase could go on for two hours in a city as congested as New York, but noted that even a 10-minute chase would be dangerous. He said he will be briefed on the exact timeline and details later.