Chris Rock and Will Smith

Cindi Dean Wafstet
4 min readMar 30, 2022


I didn’t watch the Oscars, but I sure heard about the altercation between Chris Rock and Will Smith afterward and tons of opinions on both sides.

Some people believed that Chris Rock was wrong, and others thought that Will Smith was wrong. But this is not a situation of either/or. I think they both were wrong. The writers and producers of the show also hold some responsibility.

These were two selfish men who were only thinking of themselves. While it’s okay to feel angry, it’s not okay to act on it. Will Smith getting up and storming up on the stage and striking Chris Rock was so out of line; it was hard to believe this was happening, and at first, I thought it was a gag.
It was clear that will smith was attempting to “protect” Jada’s honor when she could do that for herself. You have to wonder if this was really about grabbing the attention for himself, either selfishly or trying to be a knight in shining armor. I hate to tell you guys, but those days are long gone. Women CAN stand up for themselves, and this kind of action is more about the man than about their lady. Many men are taught that it is their responsibility to take care of the women in their families. I find this insulting as it indicates we can’t take care of ourselves.

My husband tried this once, and it didn’t go over well. We were on a plane coming home from Hawaii. The plane was crowded, hot, with very little legroom, and my husband was seated behind me. A man in front of me decided he would be more comfortable if he reclined his seat back into my lap. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he could pull his seat up, and he told me to go to hell. My husband decided to come to my rescue without me asking him to (this is one of those consent issues that need to be discussed before), stood up, and yelled, “the lady asked you to pull your seat up!” The man then stood up, and they proceeded to hurl insults at each other, which turned into physical assaults, with me in the middle. I screamed, “both of you sit down; you are acting like children”!!

They were so shocked that a woman was speaking to them like that. I mean, how dare she, doesn’t she know her place?? They both sat down, and the stewardess ran up and asked if she needed to do something, and I told her, no, it’s taken care. My husband got a broken finger out of this and an earful from me. I told him it was insulting that he thought I couldn’t handle the situation myself. What does he think I do all day when he isn’t around me, hide in a corner somewhere? Did he blame himself for this? No, he blamed the airline and vowed never to fly again, and he never did. I talked to the man, and his anger was manifested by grief; his wife had just died, and I told him that our daughter had too.

I read that Will Smith “had a lot of baggage to deal with,” but this was not the time or place to unpack it.

Then there was Chris Rock, who thinks it is okay to make fun of others. I read comments that said, “That’s what comics do.”

I’m sorry, that’s a cop-out, and it’s bullshit.

Making fun of someone else is never acceptable. When others see this being done, it normalizes the behavior, and it tells those others that it’s perfectly fine for them to do the same thing. Why did this joke get okay’d by the writers and producers? Have we learned nothing since the years with Donald Trump???

Jada Pinkett Smith was not happy. It wasn’t the first time that Chris Rock singled her out for something. He must have some problems with her, which should not have been brought out in a public forum.

I know what it’s like to be made fun of because you don’t have any hair. It is not acceptable for any reason, but especially to make a joke on TV at someone else’s expense. At least my hair grew back again. Jada Pinkett Smith’s will not; will she be an acceptable target from now on?

Seeing the video of this event made me sad, and it made me angry. It illustrated that men can do and say whatever they want and get away with it.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it.”

Will Smith apologized, but it still doesn’t make it okay. It doesn’t mean you can behave any way you want as long as you say you’re sorry afterward. At least he acknowledged that he had made a mistake. Where is Chris Rock’s apology? Was this joke on the teleprompter, or was it an adlib?

It’s not okay to make fun of anyone for any reason, not how they look, their age, their skin color, their sexual orientation, their disability. And it’s not okay to react with violence because you have issues.

Comments that I read included:

“As someone who suffered through physical and verbal abuse, I have been much more triggered by people being okay with the “joke.” It is that kind of “joking” that took me to my lowest as a child. Violence is not the answer, but neither is belittling others.”

“It was bullshit that Smith wasn’t escorted out and that he received a standing ovation. Hollywood condoned violence tonight.”

“Here’s how you deal with a joke you think is in bad taste:
• Don’t laugh (Smith was laughing at that joke initially)
• Ask the man to apologize later
• Boo and maybe even yell “Not funny!”

How not to deal with a joke you think is in bad taste:
• Punch the comedian.”

Will anyone learn valuable lessons about this? Probably not. And that makes me the saddest of all.



Cindi Dean Wafstet

Writer, reader, teacher, student… Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Widow Resident of Washington State