Was The Slap Fake?The Dark Herald
One way or another, yes.
I resent having to have an opinion about this sissy fight. I don’t like anyone involved but since the entire internet has blown up over it I can’t ignore it.
Here’s the clip you’ve probably seen repeatedly by now.
The Oscars were tracking in its usual basement-dwelling numbers when the slap heard around the world happened. The viewership doubled almost immediately. It’s the first time in years that the general public has taken a genuine interest in the Academy Awards.
From the perspective of successfully generating eyeballs, I can understand why people think it was a stunt. And it may well have been one. Security should have stepped in when Smith was heading for the stage and they didn’t.
I personally suspect it was both real and fake.
This is a little complicated.
Nobody knows for certain what kind of marriage Will Smith and Jada Pinkett have other than a stable one, they are coming up on their 25th anniversary this year. She has openly stated that they have an open marriage.
Which is where the question marks pop up.
There have been frequent rumors that Will or both Will and Jada are gay. This would explain the long-term stability of their marriage in Hollywood. It wouldn’t be the first time that a marriage that was initially approached as a business relationship turned into a genuine form of love.
However, the form in question would be Philia and not Eros. English-speaking countries only have one word for love and it has to stretch to cover every kind of love. The Greeks divided it up. Love for God is Agape. Sexual love is Eros. And Philia “was about showing loyalty, giving sacrifice, showing appreciation, and other more “noble” forms of love not involving sex.”
Which would appear to describe Will and Jada’s long-term relationship.
Will Smith and Chris Rock’s relationship on the other hand could best be described as “rocky.” They started out at the same time and ran in the same circles for quite a while. More on back-slapping terms than best buddies. But then an issue came up.
Back in 2016, Jada Smith decided she was mad because Will got snubbed for a mediocre performance. She started the Oscars So White hashtag and boycotted the ceremony.
Chris Rock said at the time: “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
That is the joke that she is really mad about. That is the one that stung. It’s no secret that Jada Pinkett would have been a forgotten has-been if she wasn’t Will Smith’s wife, but she doesn’t like to be reminded of it.
Which is why they are both under a lot of stress. Because Will Smith is losing his status. While they have a very successful production company, Will’s box-office drawing power has been getting weaker and weaker for a long time. His (now) Oscar-winning performance in King Richard only pulled in $15 million against a budget of $50 million. A Will Smith movie with a low budget did NOT earn-out. You can blame Covid for some of that, but the handwriting is on the wall. Her high status is tied to his and he is losing ground. Will Smith is on his way down and this is a guy who has been on top since he was 20 years old.
I wish the camera had stayed on the Smiths for a few more seconds, I’m having to go with second-hand accounts. Rock makes a joke at Jada’s expense. Her Majesty rolls her eyes in royal irritation and then the camera cuts to Rock.
There wasn’t time to say much of anything, she must have given Will a look that said, “are you a man?”
Smith was clearly controlled when he went up on stage. Chris Rock isn’t backing away. And then Smith slaps him and it’s a stage-slap. It makes noise but won’t do anything to Rock except shock him. Smith then goes back to his seat with a smirk on his face and yells profanities at Rock. Again, he doesn’t appear to have lost control of himself at any time. He was never lost in anger at any time.
It feels to me like Smith was forcibly demonstrating his status. And not just to Rock but to everyone. Which is why I am saying it was both real and fake.
Later during his acceptance speech, he looks like he is genuinely distressed. By then he has worked out the downside of his stunt. He looks like a total asshole because it was a sucker-punch against a smaller man and Chris Rock had to stand there and take it. It was obvious that Smith wouldn’t have done that to Terry Crews.
Real, fake or both, this going to damage Will Smith when least he needed to be damaged.