Will Smith Slap Overshadowed Williams Sisters’ Big Night

Robyn Beck/Getty Images
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Will Smith went off-script at the Oscars on Sunday night by slapping comedian Chris Rock for a joke he made about Smith’s wife.

However, the bizarre scene did more than just cause a stir among the assembled guests and light the internet on fire for those watching at home. It also overshadowed the achievements of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

Smith was nominated for Best Actor for his role in King Richard, a movie that tells the tale of Venus and Serena’s father, Richard Williams, as he raised his daughters to become two of the greatest female tennis players of all time.

Smith ended up winning the award for Best Actor, an achievement that should have been the headline of the evening and a fitting tribute to the sacrifice and hard work of the Williams family as they fought through adversity to become the best in their sport.

Instead, Smith chose to assault Chris Rock for an innocent and harmless joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and that became the story of the night.

As Breitbart’s Jerome Hudson reported:

Chris Rock was on stage at the Dolby Theatre to present the award for documentary feature. The comedian cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, saying she looked like she belonged in ‘G.I. Jane 2.’

Smith then stormed the stage and appeared to slap Rock across the face. ‘Wow, Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,’ said Rock.

Smith took his seat and appeared to mouth the words: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!’

Watch below (***Language warning***):

After winning Best Actor, Smith apologized to everyone except the man he assaulted.

“I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” he said during his acceptance speech.

Though, in addition to apologizing to the “Academy” and “fellow nominees,” Smith should have apologized to the Williams family.

King Richard is more than just a sports movie or some biography of the Williams sisters. It’s a story about family and, more importantly, fatherhood. In a day and age when so many fathers are absent, uninterested, or uninvolved in their children’s lives, especially in the black community, King Richard serves as a reminder of the role of a father and the incredible impact a positive man can have.

Venus Williams of The United States and Serena Williams of The United States hold up their trophies following victory in the Ladies Doubles Final on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on July 9, 2016 in London, England. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Hollywood touches on many themes and many narratives, most of which are without morality or any uplifting messages. But not this time. Instead, in King Richard, Hollywood actually did what most Americans have wanted them to do for years by delivering a message that was timely, needed, and full of love.

Serena Williams of The United States lifts the trophy following victory in The Ladies Singles Final on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on July 9, 2016 in London, England. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

That should have been the story from last night, and it wasn’t. Through his selfish and reckless behavior, Will Smith did more than just smack Chris Rock in the face, he smacked Richard Williams in the face as well.


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