March 27, 2022 was arguably one of the best and at the same time the worst night of Will Smith’s entire life, as aptly pointed out by The Daily Showits former host, Trevor Noah. Not just did I Am Legend the actor won a much-deserved Oscar (the first of his career), but was also banned for a decade by the Academy immediately after as a result of his attack on Oscars host Chris Rock. In the months following the incident — surreptitiously dubbed “Oscar’s slapgate” by the internet — people were judged from afar, and Will Smith retreated into the shadows, issuing his occasional, if not sustained, apologies.
Also read: “He is very public and honest”: Join and Oscar producer Will Packer believes Will Smith’s apology is sincere and should not be ridiculed
With Liberation now gathering steam, and the actor coming out again, 9 months seemed like a good amount of time to give the case some quiet treatment. A conversation with Trevor Noah now brings some previously undisclosed rationale behind tonight’s run-up to the bang.
Will Smith talks about factors that led to the Oscars
Amidst conversations focused on slavery, the Civil War, emancipation and freedom, Trevor Noah and Will Smith diverged into themes surrounding the night of March 27, 2022. It was a defining moment in Smith’s career that immediately and quickly established him as the villain. People claimed how the real Will Smith came out in that one moment, leaving behind his public image of positivity, smiles and almost constant enthusiasm. But the actor puts that aside and claims,
“It was a terrible night, as you can imagine. There are a lot of nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just lost it. And I guess what I want to say is, you just never know what somebody’s going through. I audience right now you’re sitting next to strangers. And someone’s mother died last week. Someone’s child is sick. Someone lost their job. Someone just found out their spouse was cheating, you know.
It’s all these things and it’s strangers and you just don’t know what happens to people. And I went through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all. I just wanted to say, you know you ask what I learned and that’s it, we just have to be nice to each other, man. It’s kind of hard. And I guess what was most painful for me is that I took my heart and made it difficult for other people.”
Also read: ‘You can’t protect your family’: Will Smith admits ‘security is an illusion’ ahead of Oscar slap controversy
At this point, it was clear that Will Smith is talking about standing up for Jada Pinkett Smith and defending her honor, and in his elaborate explanation, the former indirectly addresses an instance that directly traces back to the published scandal of his wife’s extramarital affair.
Was it Jada Pinkett Smith who started the Oscar slap incident?
In 2015, Jaden Smith introduced singer August Alsina to his parents, which then led to the singer cozying up to the family. He accompanied his family on their Hawaiian vacation and walked the red carpet at the 2017 BET Awards alongside Jada Pinkett Smith. In July 2020, an hour-long interview with Angela Lee i The breakfast club revealed Alsina’s long affair with Jada Pinkett Smith and, more controversially, that he had Will Smith’s blessing to do so.
Also Read: ‘You know, being called the N-word… it was gross’: Will Smith was pushed to his limits while filming ‘Emancipation’ after fans called the upcoming movie ‘Oscar-Bait’ to get people to forget the Chris Rock controversy
The relationship must have happened when the two were separated. With Gotham actress confirmed these claims as true, the media spurred action and put the spotlight on the reunited Smiths. A week later, Will and Jada Smith confirmed their marital commitment, and there has been no news on that front since then. Until Oscar’s slapgate.
Trevor Noah then manages to connect the dots and expresses how Will Smith, after a lifetime of being scared, violated, hurt and undermined by people, chose to declare an end to all bullying and shaming. The only flaw in that logic was that he “Stand up for the wrong thing at the wrong time.”
Liberation streaming on Apple TV+.
Source: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah