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Kevin Hart Gets Real About Will Smith’s Oscars Slap And How The World Should Treat His Situation With Chris Rock

  • October 02, 2022

It’s been a little over six months since Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, and many are still discussing the polarzing incident. While the general public has had plenty of thoughts on the matter, plenty of celebrities have weighed in as well. One of the high-profile stars that chimed in with thoughts is Kevin Hart, who’s good friends with both Smith and Rock. Hart has never been one to shy away from giving honest thoughts and, not too long ago, he got real about the slap and how the world should be treating the situation at this point. 

Kevin Hart first addressed Will Smith’s slap in July, during which the comedian asserted that Smith was “apologetic.” He also stated that despite the drama he still loved both Smith and Chris Rock. More recently, Hart remained civil when discussing the matter, saying that both men need time to “recover.” On top of that, he asserted that it’s about time that the public at large stop concerning itself with the situation:

People make mistakes, and from mistakes they should be allowed time to fucking recover. And that this is no longer the world’s problem, it’s Will and Chris’s problem. Let them deal with that. The world should step out of it and let them recover. … Let Will recover from it. Let Chris get back to work as normal. Let two men be men and figure that out if they choose to. If they do, they do. If they don’t, they don’t.

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during the Academy Awards. In the week that followed, Smith resigned from the Academy, and the organization later banned him for a decade as punishment for the on-air confrontation. Smith broke his silence on the incident during the summer and formally apologized to Rock for what happened. Though he’s reportedly yet to talk things out with Smith, Rock seemingly took shots at the apology during a stand-up act. 

Kevin Hart also mentioned the slap in one of his acts earlier this year, though he mused that the I Am Legend star “didn’t plan that shit.” In his interview with the Drink Champs podcast, Hart also heaped a considerable amount of praise on his colleague. Hart credited the Oscar winner for helping to create opportunities for other Black entertainers to star in mainstream Hollywood productions:

Will Smith is the reason why the idea of African Americans attached to global IP is normal. Studios took the gamble on more leads of color because of the work that Will Smith, Denzel [Washington] were doing in the beginning, right? You need the faces that are giving the universal return. So I’m not gonna shit on Will and act like he hasn’t been and wasn’t that guy.

While stars like Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle have been critical of the slap, others have given the King Richard star the benefit of the doubt as Kevin Hart has. Marlon Wayans expressed concern for the Academy Award winner while also making note of his history of exuding “Black excellence.” Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Tatyana Ali also commented on the slap and, while she believes Chris Rock shouldn’t have been hit, she also believes her former co-star has “a big heart.” 

Most would probably agree that the slap-related discourse has been a lot over these past several months. So maybe we’d be wise to heed Kevin Hart’s advice and let Will Smith and Chris Rock handle things in their own respective ways. Of course, whether or not the world ultimately does that remains to be seen.

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