“The View” ladies are sharing their thoughts on the shocking moment from the 2022 Oscars ceremony that broke the internet: when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
On Monday’s episode of the daytime talk show, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro weighed in on the now-infamous slap — and they didn’t hold back on criticizing Smith over what they described as an act of violence and “show of toxic masculinity.”
Goldberg brought the topic to the table, with Behar first giving her take.
“I was thinking comedians are in danger everywhere,” she said, before going on to suggest that a “more appropriate response” would have been for Smith to leave the theater. Behar used the moment when she and Goldberg stormed off “The View” set during Bill O’Reilly’s appearance back in 2010 as an example, and added, “But to actually hit somebody was shocking, quite frankly.”
While Navarro noted that Rock’s joke was “in very poor taste,” she stressed that “nothing, nothing, nada, [z]ero, condones violence in this form.”
Hostin chimed in, sharing that she was “embarrassed” for Smith and “horrified” for Rock.
“I mean, Will apologized to the Academy, and he apologized to his colleagues and the other nominees, but he didn’t apologize to Chris Rock,” she explained. “And I thought Chris was the one that deserved an apology, for taking the high road. He was slapped in front of millions of people, internationally, and he took the high road in his response.”
She then continued to go in on Smith, saying that the actor was “immature,” “childish” and “violent.”
Hostin went on to bring up the fact that Smith and Jada have “lived publicly their whole lives,” noting that this means you “open up yourself to jokes and commentary.”
However, Hostin said, “When you live publicly, you don’t have the right to all of a sudden decide to execute violence. And I have to say, that was a show of toxic masculinity.”
“If he was offended and felt emasculated by Regina Hall’s joke, or by Chris Rock’s joke, you don’t act out in violence,” she said. “That is not a show of love, that’s a show of violence.”
As for Goldberg, she expressed that she believes “there was a lot of stuff probably built up,” noting how since 2016 there has been a lot of jokes about Smith and Jada, specifically about their marriage.
“I think he overreacted,” she explained, before adding, “I get it. Not everybody acts the way we would like them to under pressure. Some people just snap. He snapped. What I do wanna say is I think it’s remarkable and wonderful that Chris Rock did not take it to that other place it could have gone.”
The shocking moment came when Rock was on stage to present an award. He made a joke about Jada, telling her, “Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”
The comedian was seemingly referring to the new hairstyle the “Matrix” actress had been embracing after revealing her struggle with alopecia, a disorder that attacks hair follicles resulting in bald spots and hair loss.
Smith then stormed the stage and slapped Rock across the face. He looked taken aback after the strike, “Oh wow,” he said, before adding, “Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me.”
In response, Smith shouted to the stage from his seat, yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
“Wow, dude, it was a ‘G.I. Jane’ joke,” Rock remarked before Smith reiterated, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
Meanwhile, later in the evening, Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “King Richard.” In his acceptance speech, the actor referenced the altercation and apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but neglected to mention Rock in his apology.
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” Smith stated as he accepted his award. “Art imitates life: I look like the crazy father. Just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things. Hope the Academy invites me back.”