Comedians Speak Out Against Will Smith Slap

'What you saw on TV was a guy with real issues,' says Howard Stern
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2022 6:40 PM CDT
Celebs Have a Lot of Opinions on Will Smith Slap
Will Smith hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(Newser) – Chris Rock isn't pressing charges after being slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars on Sunday night—but if the case went to a jury of the two men's celebrity peers, it would likely be very difficult to reach a verdict. Some, especially comedians, slammed Smith's behavior while some praised him for "standing up" for wife Jada Pinkett Smith after Rock joked about her baldness—and others, including director Sophia Bush, said both men were at fault. More:

  • Smith "has real issues." "What you saw on TV was a guy with real issues. That’s crazy, that’s crazy when you can’t contain yourself," said Howard Stern, per the Hollywood Reporter.
  • "Ugliest Oscar moment." Mark Hamill called the incident the ugliest Oscar moment ever. "Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assault ... not so much," the actor tweeted.

  • "The most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Tiffany Haddish, Pinkett Smith's co-star in Girls Trip, was among the most effusive of Smith's defenders. "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," she told People.
  • Pinkett Smith "can look after herself." Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said Monday that the "strong, beautiful" Pinkett Smith does not need her husband to fight her battles, the New York Post reports. Pinkett Smith " is one of the most empowered, helpful to women, women that I’ve ever, you know, seen out there in front,” Brzezinski said. "She goes where no one has the guts to go. She can take care of herself, thank you, No. 1."

  • "Now we all have to worry." Kathy Griffin was among the comedians who said they were worried about what the slap might lead to, the AP reports. "Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a comedian,” she tweeted. "Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters."
  • "Bravo to Chris Rock." Rosie O'Donnell praised Rock for not escalating the incident, Deadine reports. "Bravo to Chris Rock — for not eviscerating will smith — which he could do any day of the week — he walked away — bravo from a sad display of toxic masculinity from a narcissistic madman," she tweeted.
  • Nicki Minaj is Team Smith. The rapper expressed sympathy for both Smiths on Monday and slammed Rock for joking about the effects of alopecia. "Imagine what it must feel like to be losing your hair to the point where you have to shave it bald," she tweeted. "You think that’s easy to deal with for anyone? You don’t think she’s cried about that many times?"
(Read more Will Smith stories.)

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