Violence Isn’t The Biggest Problem With Will Smith’s Oscars Display

He stole the story.

L.L. Kirchner
4 min readMar 30, 2022


Gold trophies on display.
Still from the Academy Awards website.

When Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock at the Oscars, the response seemed too obvious to merit writing about. A comedian made a tame joke about someone in the audience and got hit because of it. Unacceptable. The end, right?

Then the support started rolling in.

Tiffany Haddish told PEOPLE, “when I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me. As a woman who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you.”

I’m sorry, what?

Using violence to make your point is the exact definition of toxic masculinity. More pointedly, this is the perfect example of why that behavior is so problematic. The minute he jumped out of his chair, Smith took Jada Pinkett Smith’s agency. Instead of making the moment about her, it became about him.

When he stole that scene, he robbed Pinkett Smith of her voice. Yet this is not how this event is being framed, because the violence has become the focal point. That’s a problem. That’s the patriarchy coming for your rights.

It’s clear in video footage of the event that Pinkett Smith had a reaction to Rock’s comment.

Jada Pinkett Smith, looking regal in a silky green gown, seated at the award ceremony.
Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars giving Chris Rock the side-eye for his weak G.I. Jane joke.

Her side-eye is what we call appropriate, especially considering that just days before the big event she told her 866,600 TikTok fans, “I don’t give two craps what people think of this bald head of mine.”

That was her voice. That was what she wanted the takeaway to be. Based on this image, I imagine getting to that point of acceptance was hard-won. But in her own comments on the matter, the struggle wasn’t the focus. She highlighted the victory.

Instead we’ve now learned what exactly?

For some of us—me, for instance—the incident has highlighted some otherwise unknown facts. A, that G.I. Jane was bald (uh, this uninterested in action films person thought the joke was something about Pinkett Smith…



L.L. Kirchner

Award-winning screenwriter & best-selling author | GenXer | Open-minded skeptic committed to empowering humans through stories |