Will Smith Oscars Slap raises concerns for comedians’ safety during shows

Following Will Smith’s slap on Chris Rock on the Oscars show last night, several other comedians and TV personalities have expressed concern for their safety at the shows.

“Let me tell you something, it’s a really bad habit to get on stage and physically assault a comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters”, actress Kathy Griffin wrote on Twitter.

Griffin’s comments come shortly after Smith was seen slapping Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Jade, I love you. GI Jane 2can’t wait to see it,” Rock said, comparing the G.I. Jane star, Demi Moore, to Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia. In G.I. JaneMoore has a shaved head.

Shortly after the prank, Smith was seen walking onto the stage and slapping a rock in the face. Smith could then be heard from the crowd telling Rock to keep Pinkett Smith’s name out of his mouth.

In addition to Griffin, several other comedians and celebrities have expressed safety concerns following the incident at the Oscars.

Joy Behar, actress and co-host of View said, “I thought, comedians are in danger everywhere,” when asked about Monday’s incident.

Comedian Jimmy Dore also had a similar take on the incident, writing on Twitter, “What Will Smith and the Oscars have done is make everyone who performs live much less safe.

“Now the next time a comedian gets heckled by a woman and the comedian responds, her husband/boyfriend will feel it is his duty to assault the comedian.

“Amazing how people support this.”

Likewise, comedian Brian Redban wrote, “I wonder if Will Smith just opened the door to audience members attacking the comics when doing mob work.”

Comedian and late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel also opened up about the incident during an appearance on The ring podcast, hosted by Bill Simmons.

“The comedians are really crazy, I feel like they all feel like they’re next,” Kimmel said on the podcast.

Janai Nelson, who is president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also criticized Smith.

“I know we’re all still processing, but the way casual violence has been normalized tonight by a collective national audience will have consequences we can’t even imagine right now,” Nelson wrote.

Following Sunday night’s incident, Smith received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film King Richard. In the film, Smith plays Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams.

During his acceptance speech, Smith appeared to apologize for the slap and said: “Richard Williams was a fierce advocate for his family. At this time in my life, right now, I am overwhelmed with what God calls me to do and to be in this world.”

Newsweek reached out to reps for Smith and Rock for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars awards show on Sunday, prompting comedians to express concern for their safety on upcoming shows. Above, Smith is seen punching Rock onstage during the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California on March 27.
Robyn Beck/Getty


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