Being Women

A Slap For A Slapstick ?

We have become too comfortable with the jokes cracked on us or our families, we have adjusted too well to the momentary humiliations by grinning big. We have learnt hard to ignore many times. Did we pave the path for bullies by our prolonged resilience or silence? But for how long?

On the night of Oscar 2022, Will Smith became the talk of the world. No, netizens were not talking about his Oscar win as Best Actor for King Richard, but Smith was being talked about as a slap to a slapstick, which shook the world, and the media glared.  

So, what exactly did he do that the world started talking, not about his Oscar-winning performance but his unexpected gesture?

Will Smith smacked American comedian Chris Rock, when he took a pot-shot at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith and her buzz haircut. 

And this incident had opened a floodgate of views. 

What right did Smith do, when he smacked Chris Rock? 

Will Smith showed support to the lady he loves, who was clearly disgusted by the distasteful joke by Chris Rock. He summoned enough courage to walk up to the most prestigious stage of the world and slap a person, who doesn’t know the difference between humour & humiliation. He used cuss words to shut the guy up, whose sickening satire had touched his soft spot. 

What right did he do?

Everything right, perhaps. 

What wrong thing did Smith do, when he smacked Chris Rock?? 

Nothing. I believe.  

On watching the video snippet more than ten times, it seemed so, that after he vented out on stage and while uttering THE line for the second time, he was shivering and almost on the verge of crying. Now, just imagine the goddamn moment for once, where the Husband Smith was watching his wife, who came out open about Alopecia a few years back, becoming a butt of the joke, for no fault of hers. 

Internet, that night and thereafter, was divided and a tumultuous digital divide had given rise to varied thoughts – Slapping was an act of violence. Slapping on behalf of his wife was an act of toxic masculinity. Slapping was justified owing to the cruelty of the joke meant for his wife. Slapping was an act to protest bullying. And the list goes on. 

While Will Smith had apologised to Chris, his audience and Academy for his impulsive act and that he is a work in progress, so did Chris Rock. Chris rock apologised for crossing the line and regrets adding the ad-lib that wasn’t vetted by Academy during rehearsal. 

Well, the boys have buried the hatchet with their public apology to each other but this incident rings a bell, elsewhere too. 

Chris Rock forgot to draw the line. Period. 

And so does, many of us, more than often. 

It is not okay to humiliate a person for their abilities or disabilities or a condition.

It is not okay to crack jokes about someone’s abilities or disabilities or a condition. 

Yes, I mention abilities in the same sentence, as many of us, including me, have been subjected to various humiliations in various spheres of life, even for my abilities. Funny it might seem, but it made me cringe, instead! 

What’s funnier is the zero realization of these people, who crack jokes on someone’s ability or disability or a condition. People are busy glorifying insensitivity. 

We have become too comfortable with the jokes cracked on us or our families, we have adjusted too well to the momentary humiliations by grinning big. We have learnt hard to ignore many times. Did we pave the path for bullies by our prolonged resilience or silence??

But for how long?

It hurts. 

Even when we are smirking off in front of those punchlines targeted at us, or giving a cold shoulder to the words bullying certain mental or physical disposition, it hurts. And it ruptures the core of the soul. 

One Will Smith incident, is perhaps, not enough to make us raise our voices.  

It has a piece of long, long baggage of emotional triggers. And we seldom have guts like Smith to walk up to a bully and punch or punish him or her for assaulting our soul with their verbal diarrhoea. 

But my respect for Will Smith goes up many folds.

You are entitled to counter my view, on whether Smith did it right or wrong, on whether he laughed at jokes cracked on other artists and took an offence when his wife was a subject, and whether stand-up comedy needs a boundary or not.

I reiterate, Humiliation is, was, will never be, humor. And if it humiliates, it’s never an art. 

Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed here are entirely author’s and The She Saga has nothing to do with it, since it is just a publishing platform.

By Pooja Maitra

Pooja Maitra is a media professional and brand story teller, associated with Times Network. She is a writer at large who focusses on breaking stereotypes, banishing social stigmas and raising awareness on mental health. A mother of a 4 year old, she believes, she is a student of life. She can be contacted at

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