Podcast host Joe Rogan criticized Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards on “The Joe Rogan Experience” Tuesday.
Rogan said Smith was “emotionally fragile” and acted on a “foolish impulse” because he knew there were no consequences and it had become acceptable to physically attack another person. His guest, Josh Barnett, disagreed that there is such precedent.
“Chris Rock is doing his fucking job. You don’t go sit in the front row, you’re a star at the Oscars. There’s a professional comedian whose job is to roast people,” Rogan said. “That’s what he’s doing, and what he did was not even insulting. It was a mild joke…The idea that there’s any justification whatsoever of him getting up there and smacking him in the face like that.”
Barnett said Smith should have dealt with the joke “on a personal level” and have a civil conversation with Rock about the “malicious intent” of the joke.
“He did some weird movie thing. He was getting away with it as if he was living in a fictional movie,” Rogan continued. “The idea that you think it’s smart while wearing a tuxedo to walk onto a stage in front of the world, like literally the world… and smack a comedian for the most mild joke and then sit there quivering saying ‘keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth’ and everybody’s just going to sit there in the shit you just took on the table. You just pulled your pants down and took a shit on the dinner table, that’s what it’s like.”
The host said that Smith immediately won an Oscar for Best Actor after the incident due his fame, arguing that the majority would not have gotten away with publicly smacking another person. (RELATED: Reporter Tries To Drag White House Into ‘Slapgate’ Debate)
“It sets a terrible precedent in so many different ways, it’s a terrible precedent for comedy clubs, like are people going to decide they’re going to go on stage and smack the comedian, now?” Rogan said. “I don’t necessarily think people are going to change their behavior but dumb people might.”
“Also, what are we saying as a society when the people that we look up to for whatever reason, for good or for bad. We look up to actors and the Academy Award is supposed to be them in their most regal outfits and best behavior and to drop down to violence for something so innocuous as a G.I. Jane joke,” he continued.
Smith apologized to Rock via Instagram Monday, calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith said. “I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”