It’s been a while since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, and it still feels like just about everyone has had something to say about it. Since Smith slapped Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards, celebrities ranging from Jim Carrey to Zoë Kravitz have spoken out. Some of those responding to the situation criticized Smith as Best Actor winner while others came to his defense. Steve Harvey has now become one of the newest people to voice their opinions, and he did so at an Atlanta law school.
During a talk at Georgia State University, the media personality delivered a keynote address to law students. Those who watch and listen to Family Feud know that he rarely equivocates when discussing an issue, and this was the case when he took on Will Smith’s behavior at the ceremony. Putting himself in Chris Rock’s shoes, the former radio host stated that if he had been assaulted, he would’ve reacted differently:
I’m a Christian but I’m really undeveloped. I don’t have high-level Christianity. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m like a 2. That’s the level of Christianity I can work on. You slap T.D. Jakes, he’ll turn the other cheek. You slap me? If you sit back in your seat, Jada [Will’s wife] would have to move out of the way. That’s the type of Christian I am.
After Chris Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith hit him. In particular, Rock mentioned that he was eager to see Pinkett Smith headline a G.I. Jane sequel (a reference to the actress’ now-bald head as a consequence of alopecia).
Rock declined to press charges, and he has yet to speak in depth about the situation. During his stand-up shows, though, he’s spoken vaguely about it. As a result of this incident, Rock has been banned from the Academy for a decade and formally apologized.
Many people have offered their own theories on why Will Smith made the decision he did.According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Steve Harvey went on to say that he believes Smith did it because he knew he could get away with it in the moment. Harvey referred to the slap as a “punk” move and added that he “lost a lot of respect for [Smith].”
Other celebrities have been a bit more blunt in their criticism. Jim Carrey called the fact that the Bad Boys alum received a standing ovation when receiving his Oscar “sickening.” Academy Awards host Wanda Sykes said she’d wanted to respond on stage because she too found it to be “sickening.”
Fresh Prince alum Janet Hubert, who said she was “proud” of Will Smith, was on the other side of the fence. While she acknowledged that both individuals’ behaviors were “inappropriate,” she felt that the comic shouldn’t have made a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense. Denzel Washington, who escorted Will Smith away during the Academy Awards ceremony, also appeared to question whether people could truly evaluate an actor for his actions for just one moment.
While a number of celebrities have spoken out thus far, it appears that many veteran comics, such as Steve Harvey, have strong feelings. This is due to the consequences they believe the Academy Awards situation might have on future stand-up performances. (Dave Chappelle was just assaulted on stage recently.) With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if more comedians join Harvey in speaking openly about the now-infamous slap over time.
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest