The Oscars Slap Was the Vibe Shift

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the chaotic 2022 Oscars, and we should probably accept that awards shows should just die.

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The Oscars Slap Was the Vibe Shift
Photo:Getty (Getty Images)

Well, it hasn’t even been a full day since the slap heard ‘round the world and the discourse is in shambles. By now, you know that Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars after Rock made an insensitive joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, being bald (she has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder); it has now ushered in a vibe shift.

What has transpired since can only be described as a bad novella. While Rock seemingly disappeared after being slapped, Smith went on to accept the award for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. He offered a tearful apology for his actions to the Academy in his acceptance speech. The last hour-ish of the awards show post-slap went by clunkily, as literally no one knew how to go forward after a 50-year-old man slapped another 50-something-year-old man in front of millions of people.

Despite this, Twitter forged on. The takes arrived in droves, as there were people declaring that violence is bad! Slapping is assault! Chris Rock deserved it! Will Smith knew better! Toxic masculinity is the worst! Judd Apatow and Bernice King and Sophia Bush and Shanola Hampton and Kathy Griffin and Billy Eichner weighed in. They tweeted and some deleted.

Then there was a question of whether Smith would have to return his Oscar. The Academy issued a statement pushing back on “violence of any form.” The LAPD confirmed Rock “declined to file a police report.” Will and Jada’s son, Jaden Smith, simply tweeted:

It can’t be any clearer, folks. We’re likely never getting another live Oscars broadcast again. The vibe shift: It’s here.

  • Leslie Odom Jr. had some thoughts on “the slap…” [Vanity Fair]
  • As did Michaela Jaé Rodriguez: “They’re both human.” [Variety]
  • Tiffany Haddish is firmly Team Will. [People]
  • I need to know everything Bradley Cooper and Will Smith talked about. [Page Six]
  • Outside of Oscars-land, Kim Kardashian and Kanye seem to be peacefully co-parenting. [TMZ]
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