The Oscars slap was the talk in the Carroll halls

Lydia Maione, Staff writer

On Sunday night, comedian Chris Rock got rocked on live television in front of millions of people during the televised Oscars. On Monday, that was all the kids at Archbishop Carroll were talking about.

Actor Will Smith, who attended Carroll when he was in 9th grade, smacked Rock after Rock made a joke focusing on the hair loss experienced by actor Jada Pinkett Smith, who is married to Smith.

“I think Smith had the complete right to confront Rock; however, I felt it was not the way to go about it in the public way he did,” said senior Elyse Terzian. “Violence also is never the answer … It was clear that deeper problems within their marriage caused Smith to act out publicly in anger. You can see that he is very sensitive about other men talking about his wife given their circumstances.”

Senior Jules Hunt said Smith should not have confronted Rock.

“I feel as if the way Smith dealt with this comment’s effect on his wife was wrong,” said Hunt. “He made a fool of himself. It’s always been the host of the Oscar’s job to make fun of people, and maybe [Rock] honestly didn’t know that she had a condition that caused her to lose her hair. And if he was aware of her situation since I don’t want to make any assumptions, I still believe no harm was intended, and he truly was trying to be funny. It seemed really out of place for Smith to react the way he did.”

The episode happened hours into the Academy Awards show. While Rock was on the stage to present the award for best documentary, he made a joke about actor Pinkett Smith, who was sitting in the front row with her husband — a nominee for the best actor Oscar. 

Rock said, `Jada, I love you, `G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.” 

Rock’s joke alluded to the 1997 film “G.I. Jane” in which the female lead character shaved her head when she joined the U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land Team (a.k.a. the Navy SEALs). Last year, Pinkett Smith shaved her head because she has the autoimmune disorder alopecia, which causes bald spots and hair loss. 

Following Rock’s joke at Sunday night’s award ceremony, a panning camera showed Smith laughing a little at the joke, and then Pinkett Smith rolling her eyes. After that, Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock across the face. 

“Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth,” said Smith after he returned to his seated. 

“Oh, wow,” Rock responded. 

A few months before the Oscars broadcast, Pinkett Smith had made light of her medical condition.

“Rather than get upset about it, the actress prefers to put a positive spin on her hair loss. ‘But you know mama’s going to put some rhinestones in there. I’m going to make myself a little crown. That’s what mama’s going to do,’” Pinkett Smith said in December 2021, according to

“When I saw her Instagram post, I was so inspired to see someone going through something I could never make light of in her situation,” said senior Emma Jacobs.

When Smith stepped on the stage for the second time Sunday night, this time to receive an award, he apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees for his actions and said, “Love makes you do crazy things.” 

As he accepted the best actor Oscar for playing Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena William, in King Richard, Smith wept and compared himself to Williams, who was known for being a father that was a “fierce defender of his family,” according to 

Smith apologized to Rock the following day. 

“I would like to publicly apologize to you Chris,” said Smith. 

On Instagram, Smith wrote, “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.”