The Slap Heard ‘Round the World


In a truly shocking moment, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Award Ceremony on March 27, the reverberations are still echoing.

Smith slapping Rock on national television was a global shock, out of character at such a formal, traditional ceremony.

Smith is one of the most renowned and respected actors in Hollywood, starring in the hit show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” at the start of his career, then moving into dramatic cinema such as “Men in Black,” “I Am Legend,” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” He has received critical acclaim at the Oscar’s winning the Best Actor Oscar for “King Richard” later in the evening, after the instantly-infamous slap.

Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, acting teacher and Director of the Williston Theatre, was watching the event at home when it happened.

“At first, I was incredibly confused as to what had happened,” Rodriguez said.  “It looked like Smith struck Rock, but it was so quick and with sound cutting out for so long after, it was nearly impossible to be certain.” Once the rage on Will Smith’s face became visible, it was clear what happened.

Rodriguez believes both parties acted incorrectly, but the damage to Smith’s career will be deep.

“Smith stands to lose so much more from the slap than Rock from the joke,” he said. “While in poor taste, Rock’s joke is in keeping with his brand as a comedian. Assault, anger, and violence are not characteristics associated with Smith’s affable and charismatic public persona. He’s already seen himself forced to quit the Academy, and his upcoming Netflix project has come undone. I don’t think this will ruin his career, and it shouldn’t. But it will cast a shadow over him for many years to come.”

Jacob Blandburg, a post-graduate Smith “looked stupid.” This sentiment was shared with fellow senior Mauricio Gonzalez, who said, “he needs help.”

Smith has wrestled with what he describes as his “amiable image” since he was thrown into the public eye more than three decades ago. In his 2021 memoir, “Will,” he details his two personalities he cultivated over the years, “Uncle Fluffy” the amiable celebrity, and “The General,” his darker, brooding side. Many people in the public were unaware of this phenomenon until the awards ceremony, the New York Times reported.

This event has splashed throughout the entertainment community. Celebrities have begun to chime in on the event, to either refute the act or support Smith. SNL spoofed the incident in a skit and with many jokes in “Weekend Update.”

Shortly after the incident, Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts. He then received a 10-year ban from attending any awards ceremonies.