Everyone watching the Academy Awards saw a first. Will Smith approached Chris Rock while he was standing on stage and slapped him hard because of a comment Chris made about Will’s wife, Jada. I must admit, Chris handled it well and did not give it back. Instead, he went on with the show.
Will Smith later apologized to the Academy and ultimately to Chris Rock. The incident has caused some discussion as to whether or not it was chivalrous for Will to defend his wife’s honor or whether his actions were condemned for the violence it represented. Frankly, I can see both sides. However, the act itself, in retrospect, has to be condemned. Not so much for adults who put themselves in the place of Will or Chris but rather because of the children and young men and women who witnessed it. No one should ever believe that violence is the answer to an insult. It’s the old “sticks and stones” adage. If someone who admires Will Smith believes that they can emulate this conduct because of that admiration, then violence may be accepted as the norm. That is something we should all strive to avoid.