The Slap That Drew Global Attention

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The 94th Academy Awards was full of many momentous occasions, yet one event has seemingly overshadowed all: Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.

  • On Monday morning, many of us awoke to entire timelines full of content repeatedly showing the same clip: actor Will Smith walking onto the stage at the Oscars and smacking comedian Chris Rock.
  • Whilst presenting, Rock made a joke about the actor’s wife. Rock said that Jada Pinkett Smith could be in the next G.I. Jane movie - which was an apparent reference to her short-cropped hair.
  • The story has drawn global attention. Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, a unique form of hair loss that can impact people of all ages and which understandably can be difficult to navigate.
  • Discrimination of black women’s hair has existed for centuries. Some activists voiced their disappointment towards Rock, for targeting a member of the Black community with a medical condition.
  • On the other hand, the story has received attention due to the element of violence - with some pointing to the undertones of toxic masculinity. Should Smith have used his words, rather than his fists?
  • Although Smith has now formally apologized to Rock for his behavior, the representation and normalization of violence on such an international platform has received much scrutiny.
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5 articles on this topic


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Op-Ed: Will Smith's attack on Chris Rock shows toxic masculinity - Los Angeles Times

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Explainer: what causes alopecia areata and can you treat this type of hair loss?

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