Smith Vs Rock At The Oscars: Res Ipsa Loquitur, And In So Many Ways

Yes, that’s actor Will Smith, who later was awarded the Best Actor Oscar, physically battering comedian Chris Rock during the live Academy Awards Broadcast last night. Rock staggered back and said,  “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me!” Then Smith returned to his seat and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”

Rock had made an ill-considered wisecrack about Jada Pinkett, Mrs. Will Smith.

I know the headline is “Res Ipsa Loquitur” (“The thing speaks for itself”) and the photo does, but I’m going to list some ethics observations anyway.


1. I’m sure some will defend Smith. There is no defense. Rock will probably not press charges for various reasons, but he would be justified in doing so.

2. I’ll excuse Rock’s vulgarity after being ambushed, but Smith’s use of “fuck” was a perfect example of the thin veneer of respect for audiences so many stars have. Of course, his vulgarity was so overshadowed by his thuggishness that it will be quickly forgotten.

3. Will Smith, as he has indicated periodically, is an ill-bred jerk. In all the many awards shows and roasts in which a comedian crossed a line of good taste, fairness or civility, no actor or celebrity has ever physically attacked someone on stage. That’s because civilized, reasonable human beings don’t act like that.

4. I recognize that the Oscars were in a bind thanks to Smith’s freak-out, but he should have been ejected from the theater. Have you ever heard of an event where someone came out of the audience, intruded on stage, attacked someone, and was allowed to go back to his seat? Talk about laws and rules being for the “little people”…

5. Smith actually tried to justify his violent outburst in his acceptance speech. He shouldn’t have been permitted to make an acceptance speech. He should also be banned from future Oscar shows for life. I’d kick him out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

6. Nice role models for kids, young African-Americans, and hot-headed males who want an excuse to resort to violence, Hollywood. Well done!

7. We will see what the real priorities of values are for the entertainment industry now. Where does embarrassing your industry, wrecking its traditional big night, and committing a crime of violence on life TV rank along with the other offenses artists have been “cancelled” for?

43 thoughts on “Smith Vs Rock At The Oscars: Res Ipsa Loquitur, And In So Many Ways

  1. Not that I care one whit for either party, or Hollywood generally, but this is really over the top. Which one is the racist?

    • I’ve read that, too, but, if it was staged…

      1. Without the showrunners’ knowledge: Everything in the entry still applies and they both should have been removed from the theater.

      2. With the showrunners’ knowledge: Everything in the entry still applies and whoever signed off on this should be fired. That was not entertaining in the least.

      • Having now listened to the audio, I doubt it was staged. Had it been staged, there would have been less swearing. It is one thing to pull a stunt for ratings, buzz, whatever, it is something else to run afoul of the FCC.


      • Had to look that up. Yup, and that was a sad story (dead at the age of 35 from lung cancer). Ok, so if it wasn’t staged, why didn’t someone take action to prevent it? Probably the same reason Natalie Holt was allowed to throw eggs at Simon Cowell and Richard Opel was allowed to streak through David Niven’s speech. It’s all anyone would be talking about the next day.

  2. I don’t watch them. I do catch the In Memoriam segment on video later so I can complain about who was left out. Still working on that.

    My husband wrote a blog entry regarding his impressions of the show (he is a devoted annual viewer and tries to see as many of the nominated films as possible – he saw 51 of the 53 nominated this year).

    He pointed out how poor Questlove’s win was overshadowed by the incident which was unfortunate. Indeed, everything after that was tainted by the audience thinking about the attack.

    He also included the following in his entry a thought which I think is apt:

    “The one piece I want to capture here more than any other is Smith telling the world that fellow nominee Denzel Washington had just told him prior to this segment (exact quote here), ‘At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the Devil comes for you.’

    Denzel isn’t wrong.”

  3. It’s odd that Will appeared to be laughing at the joke, although his wife was visibly upset, and then decided to go up and slap Chris while the camera was off him. Bets that the slap was his wife pulling the strings? Their marriage is a little odd anyways…

  4. I think a silver lining on this is that it isn’t going to be political, aside from some diehards and idiots, the overwhelming reaction I saw last night was a giant “what the fuck was that?”… When there’s an issue that everyone I respect AND Nicole Hannah Jones is on the same side of (and she was), you know that the position is basically uncontroversial. Although I suppose that highlights the other silver lining: It could have been. Could you imagine if either man had been white?

    • “I think a silver lining on this is that it isn’t going to be political”

      Give it time. In a month the Conservatives will somehow be pigeonholed into boosting Will Smith and the Progressives will be backing Chris Rock.


      • I know Twitter isn’t real life, but it’s where people are stupid and extreme first, and my impression of the spiraling lunacy is that progressives are more likely to defend Smith, because they seem more likely to view Rock’s comment’s about “a black woman’s hair” as more beyond the pale.

        IF this does become political, and Twitter is not a good enough barometer, because I think people in real life are smarter than that, I think you have it backwards.

        • I will say this – I’m only half serious – but my gut instinct is that on its surface – a man stepping forward to strike another man on behalf of a woman would be a “conservative” type thing to do. Never mind the bigger reasons involved – I wouldn’t count anyone being nuanced in this. And the easy quick thing to do because it’s immediately apparent that most people agree is to condemn Will Smith – which would be a “progressive” type thing to do (never mind they would only be accidentally correct).

          • Perhaps, but the entirety of male feminism is based on white knighting for clout. Progressives like to pretend that they’re above chivalry or chauvinism, but they aren’t. There’s also a lot of head-down politics, and I think Hollywood has a very obvious and storied history around circling the wagons for some of the shittiest people on Earth.

            That’s all predicated on this ever being political, again… other than the really stupid people, I thought it was refreshing to have an issue that most people agreed on.

            • Did you note that earlier, co-host Wanda Sykes “quipped” “You know, this year, we saw a frightening display of how toxic masculinity turns into cruelty toward women and children”?

    • Black on black crime; no longer confined to the impoverished inner city.

      Smith has a once in a lifetime rare opportunity to create something positive out of this unfortunate catastrophe. A genuine public apology that consists of total culpability and detailed explanation of how wrong on every level his behavior was. He must unequivocally own his mistake and provide a strong message that real men do not behave this way. He will be free and soar even higher in unexpected ways if he chooses this path. Well, at least this would be my advice were I his agent, friend, or family member.

      Retired Navy Seal Jocko Willink provides a compelling story on this exact topic.

      • I agree that he could, and I’m sure he’s huddling with PR consultants right now.
        He won’t, though, especially sine the Brainless Left on social media is anointing him as some kind of defender of women.

        • “He won’t, though, especially since the Brainless Left on social media is anointing him as some kind of defender of women.”

          Not surprising Jack but the way cooler classy “defender of women” response would have been a witty rejoinder (thinkJerrySeinfeld) but Smith’s lizard brain took control thereby preventing that kind of creative thinking. It happens to everyone but for Smith it was during the Oscars. Some might say it was the Universe getting Smith’s attention in a way that would be hard for him to ignore.

          • From CNN on MSN


            In a post on Instagram on Monday afternoon, Smith called his behavior “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,” he wrote. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. 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. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

            Smith added in his post that, “Violence in all forms is poisonous and destructive.”

            He also included in his note an apology to “the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world,” as well as the family of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and those involved with the film for which he won his best actor award on Sunday.

            “I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us,” he wrote. “I am a work in progress.”

  5. 4) The critters that populate Hollywood live lives entirely governed by scripts. If they are at a heavily scripted event that is hugely expensive and they’re expecting a show – there’s literally nothing in their life experiences preparing them to handle an unscripted outburst that demands an immediate values-based response.

    So of course nothing happened. They’re actors.

  6. 7) Wait…

    we’re worried that this ruins Hollywood’s reputation or might make people think that the awards ceremony is a collection of miscreants?

    Like – 99.9% of America became aware of this outburst today – not last night because no one watches celebrity-awards/preach-at-the-conservatives shows anymore. And it didn’t drop anyone’s esteem of Hollywood.

    Yeah – of course they should police this episode – but they’re a cabal, who on their good day, are still ultimately cozied up scum.

    Ain’t nobody thinks less of Hollywood.

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