It’s been over 24 hours since The Slap. The hot takes continue; the pearls remain clutched. Will Smith, the Slapper, has apologized to Chris Rock, The Slappee. It would seem that peace may reign across the land. But one crucial question remains unanswered: Did Chris Rock apologize to Jada Pinkett Smith?
Now, I for one hope you’ve been living a blissfully electronics-free life since Sunday afternoon. On the off chance that that’s true of you, lemme just catch you up real quick. At the Academy Awards on Sunday night, Chris Rock made a cheap joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s baldness. In response, Will Smith got up from his front-row seat, walked onstage, and smacked Chris Rock in the mouth. On live, international TV. And then swore at him. It was a pretty big moment! It likely won’t make it into the Academy’s future highlights montages.
Naturally, there’s been an endless stream of take-having in response to this, because people are people. Just as naturally, many of those takes have been disappointingly short sighted – looking in your direction, Judd Apatow – because people are still people in this sentence, too.
But we learned not too long after the ceremony ended that Will and Chris are apparently all good. It seems Sean Combs brokered a peace deal between the two men, confirming that “that’s not a problem. That’s over” for Page Six. Combs did not elaborate beyond saying “It’s all love. They’re brothers.”
And last night, Will Smith went one (pretty big) step further, issuing a public apology to pretty much everyone involved via his Instagram page. Smith did apologize to the Academy and the audience during his acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for King Richard. But he didn’t mention Chris Rock’s name – and in any case his mind seemed to be reeling from the enormity of, you know, all the huge adrenaline-pumping stuff that had just happened to him.
Here’s Will’s apology in full.
Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. 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.
I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.
I am a work in progress.
The takes will no doubt continue. But Will’s apology is the PR equivalent of closing the door on the matter. So the move begs the question: When will Chris Rock apologize to Jada? Chris isn’t blameless, even if he really was unaware that Jada has alopecia as his reps are now claiming. And the whole point of public exchanges like this is to clear the air and allow all parties to move on to whatever else they’d rather be doing.
This isn’t even considering the entire cultural issue of African-American women and hairstyles (something with which Chris is moderately familiar). Or the fact that, whether or not he realized it, Chris mocked a woman for a medical condition beyond her control. It would be surprising and *really* strange if Chris’ PR people don’t issue a public apology sometime today.
(Photo credits: Instagram, Netflix)
John Sharp is Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. E-mail him a hot tip.