For Millennials. By Millennials.
While Chris Rock being struck on live television by Will Smith is being applauded by many, some are against the situation entirely. And then there are some that are denouncing violence but are still passionately defending Jada Pinkett Smith in the situation. Those from that side are usually the women, usually those who are vocal about women’s rights.
Jameela Jamil and Sophia Bush were quick to offer their insightful thoughts about the incident and were adamant in defending Jada and calling out Chris Rock for the insensitive joke.
What was the joke that the Smiths took offence to?
Whilst presenting the Best Documentary award, Chris Rock took a dig at Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.
“Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.”
Jada has shaved her head because she is suffering from an auto immune disease, alopecia, that leads to hair loss. It was a sensitive matter for her and she was visibly displeased with the joke.
At first, Will laughed casually but then when he saw how hurt Jada was, he took matters into his own hands. He went on to the stage where Chris Rock was standing and slapped him across the face! Many thought it was a scripted bit but it didn’t seem like it. There was an air of uneasiness after it.
In trying to cover up, Chris Rock kept with the joke and said, “Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke”.
To this, a visibly angry Will Smith shouted:
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!!”
Afterwards, Will Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for ‘King Edward’ and in his acceptance speech, he apologised to The Academy for his actions.
What Sophia Bush thought of the situation
As always, Sophia Bush’s response always offer a nuanced perspective into complicated matters. While Sophia was denouncing violence, she did say that it was cruel of Chris Rock to joke about Jada’s alopecia:
“Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”
Sophia Bush also mentioned how Jada Pinkett Smith has been quite vocal about her alopecia condition, since 2018.
Similarly, Jameela Jamil shared Sophia’s sentiments in defending Jada Pinkett Smith
On Instagram, she wrote a longer note explaining that slapping is definitely wrong but mocking someone’s health or disability is just as wrong.
“Multiple things can be true at the same time.
Is slapping wrong? Yes.
Is mocking health/disability wrong? Yes
Is disrespecting a Black woman about her hair in a country where Black women’s hair has been politicized, and the source of ridicule for hundreds of years wrong, yes.
But the way the discourse is only around the slap, and how many people have jumped to hyperbolize it? Huge publications calling it a punch when it absolutely wasn’t. Famous people exclaiming “it could have killed him!” When it was a light slap… all plays into the exaggeration of Black men’s danger and violence in America. “
Jameela Jamil also talked about how news outlets were exaggerating the situation because Will Smith is Black. Jamil emphasized that apart from the slap, there should also be an acknowledgment that Chris Rock made an insensitive joke
“If you’re *only* talking about the slap online… it’s a bit yikes to me. Chris punched down. Will slapped across. Physical behavior is not the only thing to be examined here. The world politely laughing at a woman who has lost her hair, being ridiculed on a world stage… is more damaging than you think.
To every person with cancer, or alopecia, auto immune condition that impacts their appearance etc watching. Tonight shouldn’t be the start of hitting people over their jokes, but it should be the end of making fun of people’s health issues.”
Jameela ended her note by saying that she hopes Jada is having a lovely evening and that she did look beautiful tonight.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments down below.