W ill Smith is the fifth black man to win an Oscar. On the night of his historic win, the biggest story was his reaction to Chris Rock's joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. It looked like Pinkett Smith would appear in G.I. Jane 2, a reference to the 1997 movie in which her head was shaved for most of the movie. It's not a particularly clever or interesting joke, but it seemed like any other barb thrown from the stage. It was cruel to say that someone has been struggling with a disease for a long time. Does that mean Smith was right to hit Rock? Absolutely not. Some of the hyperbolic reaction to what transpired say less about Smith's actions and more about people's inability to consider the situation.

The most biting joke Rock has ever made about the Smiths was when he mocked Pinkett Smith's decision to boycott the Oscars, suggesting that she wouldn't have been invited anyway. The couple appeared to brush it off. What changed? Was it the impact of her illness? Is it the stress of the last few years? We don't know what led to the physical conflict instead of a few lines in an interview. This doesn't mean Smith was right. He is a human. Humans mess up.

As a society we often pick and choose which violence is acceptable and forget that what we might do is not necessarily what someone who doesn't share our history will do. People get fed up, they run out of patience, they see a moment of deep hurt on a loved one's face, and they react. The base celebrities are vulnerable to their emotions. Chris Rock should not have been hit by Will Smith. He shouldn't have had to watch his wife's illness be used to make a joke.

Hollywood's history with violence against women is complex because of the long careers of Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein. After facing allegations of domestic violence as well as spouting racist and antisemitic attacks on costars and others, it's no surprise that Mel Gibson is back on the screen. The Oscars have never been immune to public conflict. John Wayne had to be restrained by six men when he found out that Sacheen Littlefeather was going to refuse to accept the award on his behalf. She claimed that she ended her acting career because she was blacklisted by studios. The conflict at this year's Oscars seems to have many people who are morally flexible about violence taking a stand against it.

Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock during his acceptance speech for best actor at the Oscars.

Judd Apatow claimed that he could have killed him. That is out of control rage and violence. They have heard a million jokes about them. They are experienced in comedy and Hollywood. He lost his mind because of the fact that he worked with James Franco, who is accused of grabbing Busy Philipps and throwing her to the ground on the set of Freaks and Geeks. After other users pointed that out, Apatow deleted his account.

Some people expressed concern about Pinkett Smith, but others were more concerned about her treatment by Smith. Smith's reaction to a domestic abuse was compared to that of a former Access Hollywood host. There is no evidence that Smith has ever been accused of being physically abusive to a partner, and he has spoken at length about how much guilt he still feels about not being able to save his mother. History is likely to have a significant impact on what happened at the Oscars.

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As a Sicilian from a family with few boundaries, I am not qualified to be shocked by a man who said something about his wife. Rock and Smith are both from similar communities, and as a result, they will likely handle the rest of their conflict in private. No one knows for certain how Pinkett Smith feels, but it appears that they will stand by each other no matter what. It was shocking in the moment, but I don't think condemnation of Smith is the answer. Some situations need us to be sympathetic.

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