The Will Smith Oscars Incident Astounded Quebecers On Twitter

Here's some of what people are saying.

Senior Editor
Will Smith approaches Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars. Right: Will Smith shouts at Chris Rock from the audience of the 2022 Oscars.

Will Smith approaches Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars. Right: Will Smith shouts at Chris Rock from the audience of the 2022 Oscars.

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Despite some cause for local celebration, the on-stage altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock is dominating the conversation surrounding the 2022 Oscars everywhere, including Quebec.

The confrontation occurred after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's baldness while presenting the award for Best Documentary, saying he looked forward to "G.I. Jane 2." (Pinkett Smith has been open about her experience with alopecia.)

Will Smith then climbed the steps of the stage and appeared to smack Chris Rock in the face. Broadcasters muted Smith as he returned to his seat and yelled back at Rock, but unedited clips circulating on social media show the Best Actor winner telling the presenter to "keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth!"

Now, conversations are swirling about the incident, its consequences and the racial and gender implications of both the act itself and commentary on it.

Locally, the moment spurred confusion, empathy and criticism on social media, including, as Narcity Québec reports, from Quebec-based celebrities, journalists and television personalities.

Comedian Mike Ward asked, "How can you win an Oscar and end your career on the same night?"

"The Oscars, what a hit!" actor Louise Latraverse wrote punningly.

Many, including host and author Geneviève Pettersen, criticized Smith's actions as an example of toxic masculinity.

"So a dude punches another one in the face in full TV because he laughed at his wife, aka his thing, and then bim bam boom the honour of the man's possession must be preserved," Pettersen wrote.

"Get out of the Middle Ages," Léa Stréliskyiv wrote.

Others, however, have pointed to Rock's comment as an example of misogyny targeting Black women.

In an interview on Radio-Canada's Tout un matin Monday morning, columnist Émilie Nicolas raised concerns about problematic messages the violent act might have sent to viewers, especially men.

Nicolas called the incident "complex" and said she expected it would become the subject of podcasts and papers trying to unpack the nuanced cultural and social elements at play within it.

Many social media users seemed to be mostly dumbfounded.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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