The Oscars of 2022 did not go as expected. The guests, who came to cheer on their fellow actors were surprised to witness the eruption of a volcano.
The volcano, only metaphorically speaking, was the moment Will Smith jumped up from his chair, and walked up onto the stage, not to receive his Oscar, that came later but to strike the Host of the night, Chris Rock, after the latter made an offensive remark about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Back at his seat, Smith, whose momentarily rage did not fully subside, shouted one last insult at Rock and remained seated in silence. Many who witnessed this moment believed it was a sketch and were shocked to discover that it was in fact, not a rehearsed play but a result of hidden rage and resentment which led Smith to such an action.
While the events of that night have long passed, the hurt and wounds are yet to be healed. Rock, a well-known comedian shared in the past that while he was bullied in school, the only way he was able to overcome his anxieties was to make jokes and laugh at certain remarks.
As the events of that evening showed, people are just people regardless of their bank account or their sphere of influence and that fun at their own expense or the expense of their loved ones often leaves a deep stain.
But when exactly is a joke too much? Who defines the redline that should not be crossed?
As seen in this story it is not hard to imagine that below the surface an underlying conflict between the pair may actually have been the real reason that Smith resorted to such an action.
And while the world may never know what really happened between them, the reaction of the academy and its audience was viewed with much criticism.
Jim Carrey, who was one of the very few actors who openly gave his intake in an interview with CBS and stated, that “Hollywood was just spineless”.
He criticized the standing ovation Smith received after it was announced that he had won an Oscar for his performance in “King Richard”.
He concluded that while Rock only made a funny remark, Will should have never resorted to violence as a form of disapproval.
And while there is no doubt that Carrey is correct in his observation that violence is not a solution, one should not ignore the fact that the joke Rock made was painful and exploited Jada Pinkett Smith‘s struggle to overcome her illness.
Smith, who was trying to defend his wife‘s honor, could have done it in a much more discrete and respectful manner. Either during his Oscar acceptance speech or in a more private setting.
Either way, Rock´s action, and Smith’s reaction were both wrong. The real tragedy of this evening was the fact that the show had to go on.
By Adina Sarah Abraham