What can we learn from Will Smith’s Oscar slap?

Chris Rock says he will not be pressing criminal charges

Comedian Chris Rock will not be pressing criminal charges against new Oscar winner Will Smith. Everyone is talking about the slap seen around the world at the Oscars on Sunday night. It all started with a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith appeared to be laughing at first, but seconds later he walked up to the stage and slapped Rock. He returned to his seat and shouted profanities at Rock.

Comedian Chris Rock will not be pressing criminal charges against new Oscar winner Will Smith.

Everyone is talking about the slap seen around the world at the Oscars on Sunday night. It all started with a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

Smith appeared to be laughing at first, but seconds later he walked up to the stage and slapped Rock. He returned to his seat and shouted profanities at Rock.

Read: Pinkett Smith’s hair loss from alopecia at center of spat

Detroit native Mike Bonner is a comedian and performer -- he is friends with Rock. He has thrown a few comedic jabs himself.

“That was out of hand. That, walking across the thing and strutting to the stage and slapping Chris Rock would cost you $20 million if it was me,” Bonner said.

Dr. Margarita Gurri, CSP is a psychologist and expert in bad behavior.

“We’re not allowed, just because someone else crossed the line, to be violent, mean, or uncivil. Ever. It’s not OK,” Gurri said.

Read: Chris Rock declines charges after being slapped by Will Smith at Oscars

She said it’s not OK to initiate violence in any circumstance.

“The simplicity in this is it’s never OK to be mean or harm somebody in response to what they say or do. Never. Unless you’re defending a life. That’s it,” Gurri said.

There’s also the idea of being a public figure and all that comes with it, especially if you are internationally known and renowned. Take Ricky Gervais, who makes sport of pointed jabs at the Hollywood elite during his numerous stints as an award show host. It’s almost expected. But nobody has punched him in the face for calling them a pervert, pedophile, or calling out struggles with drug addiction.

“Some people are so tempted to slap. I know your hand gets twitchy, right?” Gurri said. “It doesn’t help anybody. Don’t do it.”




About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.