Slap Him Back: Will Smith and Chris Rock

I’m sick of this story that has dominated headlines all week, just as you probably are, too.

Yet the moment Will Smith stormed the stage to slap/punch/whack Chris Rock at the Oscars, all bets were off and will stir debate for years to come:

Will was defending his wife’s honor!  

Chris was out of line!

I say, “Smack him back, Chris!”  And if you disagree, read on!

As a person who pokes fun at people on stage, many of whom are often in the audience, what has transpired for people like me – those who do funny – has just opened the door to such response from a (psycho, delusional, maniacal) disagreeing audience member to attack me, and this is now a reality for even the lowly’s like me:

If it happened to an A-List legendary comedian, no one is safe!

To think of audiences assaulting me, or even considering it might happen, is terrifying and real as I take the stage from now on.

It used to be scary enough just taking the mic and trying to be funny.  Now my face is at stake!  Don’t touch the money-maker!


Should Rock have joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia?  Heck no.

Do we know if he was aware she has the condition?  I can’t imagine he did, or he wouldn’t have gone there.

It’s unfortunate in every way!  

WARNING: Graphic Video ahead – I’m sorry for the unrated version to be shared here, as it’s NSFWOC (not safe for work or church), but this is what happened if you haven’t seen it and you’ve been living under a…nevermind (that one is too easy).



To see Will Smith, a legendary actor, moments before he was to win the Oscar, have what Gay Hendrick’s coined an “Upper Limiting Moment” (self-sabotaging one’s own happiness immediately before or after a great accomplishment) from the book “The Big Leap” (highly recommended reading), was one of the greatest falls from grace we’ve ever witnessed by a man who has cultivated a Mr. Nice Guy reputation for years in one fell swoop.  All of it is sad to see.

So why would I suggest Chris Rock slap him back? 

My advice would be this for Mr. Rock –

Do EXACTLY as you did.

Slap him this way –

Do NOT initiate physical contact.  Be stunned.  Shake it off.  Apologize while the lunatic is yelling and cursing at you.  Use some words, but not ALL the words you could have used (Rock easily may have obliterated the Smith’s open marriage, hypocrisy in messaging and movies, and gone to many dark places with comedy in that moment, but restrained himself), to comprehend what has just happened.

And then Chris Rock should SLAP the perpetrator back with….


Let that sit for a moment.

The Power and Promise of Kindness.

Let’s say Rock knew about her alopecia and went there with a cruel joke…that’s a shame if so…but he wins in the court of public opinion because he was attacked and chose not to physically slap back.

He could have had Will arrested, could sue him for all he’s worth, escorted from the theater, never to win his Oscar, ruin his night and make himself, Chris Rock, look like a complete jerk.

Instead, Chris did THE BEST THING POSSIBLE: He stood there, stunned as we all were, apologized, and carried on with the show…allowing public opinion to talk about it FOR A WEEK!


The ULTIMATE slap in the face has been for Chris Rock to say next to NOTHING.

In the meantime, Will Smith has just recently resigned from the Academy, his biggest professional win and acceptance speech now something of a contradiction, everyone questioning was it worth storming the stage in honor of defending your wife that way?

A PR nightmare.

Promise Dilemma ~

Have you ever needed to defend your family, their honor, and prove your manhood to a spouse and children who may suddenly wonder if it’s there?

I can COMPLETELY see how, where, and why Will Smith snapped.

I don’t agree with his reaction and Chris Rock could have been “the villain” had Will stayed seated and spoken with Chris afterward, following being awarded the Oscar, after the standing ovations and parties, people questioning a joke made in poor taste by the comedian.

But alas, Monday Morning Quarterbacks are we.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

I had 2 VERY similar situations happen with my family last summer AND AGAIN in the fall, on a public, humiliating, community level scale, that left us in shambles and my manhood questioned by everyone who knows me.

How did I fight back?


Apologize.  Communicate to individuals one by one.  Try to make it right.  Say very little else.  Let the opinion of the public talk and take over, and it will work itself out.

So – today I led you on with the “Slap Him Back” comment.  I’m sorry.  But I meant it in the way of the TaoThe Golden Rule.  I hope what I’ve expressed here shows the power of slapping back with a more Christian, Buddhist, even Corporate approach – turning the other cheek works.  Heck, if you physically SLAP someone at a company, you’re getting sued, my friend, and then headed to jail!

Instead, choose:


What do you think?  Go ahead, slap me back if you need to, but let’s remain civil and not return to the Wild Wild West just yet 😉  (see!  Rock could have gone there, too)


~ Jason Hewlett 

Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker

  • Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Project Coach
  • World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
  • Author of “The Promise To The One”



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8 thoughts on “Slap Him Back: Will Smith and Chris Rock”

  1. Wow..Good thoughts to consider. I do not think Will Smith should have slapped.
    I am a big proponent of what I call “the extended pause.” ( Stop, pause listen and consider- ( listen to your internal dialogue and then decide your next step.)

    I really will pray protection around you. You can count on that. I agree with kindness being the best way to approach situations. And then, one must still have clear boundaries.

    1. Really interesting thoughts Louise, always wise as are your Signature Moves. I love the extended pause – that is so tough to do. Thank you for always commenting and supporting my work.

  2. Hey Raptor Man ~

    Yes, you stunned me with your “Slap him back…” opener.

    I thought, “No way! Raptor Man is breaking his promise! How can this be? How could you say, ‘Slap him back?’ My world is crumbling about me!”

    What promise did you break? I dunno. You never actually said you’d never slap someone… on stage… or otherwise… but… but… but… but still, you promised! Wah!

    Then I actually read your comments (whew). My world settled down and all was well once again.

    And that’s what Will Smith did to me. He broke his promise and slapped me. I was stunned. It hurt. It still hurts. How many steps did it take him to get to the stage? Twenty? Twenty opportunities to think of a better way of handling this. Twenty different ways of dealing with this that would not break his promise to all of us.

    The thing is, you are right, they both were in the wrong. Chris for taking a shot at someone’s appearance (whether he knew her medical situation or not). Making a joke at an audience member’s expense, That’s something a professional presenter should never do.

    Even if it was prearranged, permitted jab, as many of our speakers arrange before their presentation, the rest of the audience typically feels unsafe. It is beneath the professional to do that. Even if it’s just dang hilarious, and you jus’ gotta’ say it, if it makes any part of your audience feel disrespected or unsafe — don’t do it!

    As far as Will’s reaction? Well… y’know… He did break his promise… the one he made to me… personally… Well, no, he never actually verbalized the promise… and I’ve never actually met him… but he… then he… and he did… well… dang.

    I’m sad.


    1. I love you man. Your writing is perfection in this comment. Thank you for sharing and all of the insights here. You are a gift.

  3. Awesome message, my friend. You always bring such value to your audience.

    You just forgot to mention on important thing: women are very capable of defending themselves when people talk smack their way. Jada is no lightweight as far as I can tell.

    Really great blog post, Jason. I appreciate you bringing kindness into our very ailing country and world.


    1. You are SO RIGHT. Thank you for this perspective, as I neglected to share this. No question, this is ONE powerful woman and no need for any defense on her part in this moment by her fella. Could have been handled by her quite easily on the shows that would follow and she would have been right. I always appreciate your comments and support.

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