Words That Hurt Like a Slap

Susan Kelley
5 min readMar 28, 2022

Why I’m Okay With Will Smith

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars Photo Credit: Vox

Full disclosrue — I did not watch the Oscars. And anyway, I am more of a Tonys gal. But I do enjoy films, and I have distinct taste in the films I enjoy.

But I digress.

I do pay attention to the news, of course, and who could miss the internet simply exploding over Will Smith’s behavior at the Oscars? It overshadowed what should have been the biggest news of all, that a deaf actor won the statuette for the first time in the award’s history.

But again, I digress.

I, like nearly everyone today, have an opinion. So I’m sharing it.

Will Smith took issue with Chris Rock’s joke about his wife.

It’s part of the emcee’s job to crack jokes to keep things moving along as the nominees are shepherded back stage and technical maneuvering happens that must happen to make the show move according to plan. It takes a whole lot to make the epic awards program apear to come off without a hitch.

So there’s Rock, hammering out joke after joke all night long, poking fun at nominees and recipients for hours. Then…he hits a nerve. The joke was about Jada Pinkett Smith and G.I. Jane. The joke was cruel. The joke was far beyond anything anyone could really consider funny. Maybe at the White House Correspondents’…



Susan Kelley

Susan is a runner, a mom of 3 grown children, and an avid traveler. She writes about humans, and wrote a book about false accusations of sexual assault.