Chris Rock vs. Will Smith: Why Rock Is Winning in the Aftermath of 2022 Oscars Slap

Quick recap time for those not up on the Chris Rock vs. Will Smith battle:

  • Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2022 Academy Awards.
  • Will Smith defended his wife by walking on stage and slapping Rock (and became the night’s big loser despite receiving his first Oscar).
  • Rock and Smith are still in the news as the entertainment world has been buzzing since the March 27 slap heard ‘round the world. 

The most shocking moment in Oscars history will live on forever, and Rock and Smith will be tied to it for years. But in the Rock vs. Smith face off in the aftermath of the incident, the slap-ee is getting the better of the slapper.

Will Smith arrives at the 2022 Academy Awards; Chris Rock moments after Smith slapped him during an Oscar presentation.
(l-r) Will Smith; Chris Rock | Robyn Beck/Getty Images; Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Smith has been almost silent since the slap

The world has been talking about Smith slapping Rock, but the King Richard star has been mostly silent since then.

Smith released a statement addressing his behavior in which he apologized for his actions, and he resigned from the Academy before its investigation of the slap finished (and before it decided on his punishment).

A few people in the industry have come to Smith’s defense. His son Jaden tweeted support, and Bad Boys director Michael Bay took a shot at Hollywood while defending Smith’s character. 

In the meantime, Smith’s schedule could thin out a bit as studios are pausing projects involving him. He stands to earn millions of dollars in 2022 from his social media channels, but it could be some time until we see his face on the big screen again.

Smith has been heard from yet hardly seen since the Oscars incident, but Rock is out in full force.

RELATED: ​​Jaden Smith Tweets After Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscars 2022 Slap: ‘And That’s How We Do It’ 

Rock keeping busy after the Oscars and sticking it to Smith

Rock is in the midst of a stand-up comedy tour, but he took a break to present at the Oscars. We all know how that turned out. 

Yet almost immediately after the slap happened, the comedian proved he was poised to win the Rock vs. Smith battle. How? Rock absorbed the blow and kept going. He didn’t walk off the stage. He didn’t get fazed. Heck, he made a joke about it being the greatest night in the history of television, and then he presented the Oscar for best feature-length documentary.

Rock got right back to work after the slap. He performed a stand-up show in Boston soon after the Oscars drama, and he joked about what happened, per Yahoo. At a surprise gig in New York on April 5, Rock told a cheering club crowd, “Lower your expectations. I’m not going to address that s***.” 

Rock didn’t want to discuss the drama, which is his right, but at least he’s not backing down from facing the public. He’s continuing to tour and joke about the incident. While Smith continues to face the fallout and consequences, Rock continues to play it off like a pro.

In the Rock vs. Smith battle, the comedian is having the last laugh.

RELATED: Chris Rock’s 1997 Interview with Jada Pinkett Smith Was All About Will Smith

The Academy Awards slap was the latest incident in their history

Smith, Rock, and Pinkett Smith have a long and complicated history.

Pinkett Smith appeared on Rock’s talk show in 1997, just before she married Smith. They both voiced characters in the Madagascar movies, so they have been friendly to each other in the past. But things between the three got a little contentious in the 2010s.

Rock commented on Smith’s kids in a 2011 talk show appearance. As the 2016 Oscars host, he made a joke about Pinkett Smith boycotting the show. After joking about the family twice, the third insult was the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

The 2022 Oscars joke was the third entry in the Rock vs. Smith battle (that we know of), and the slap was No. 4. Hopefully, for both sides, it’s not a seven-game series.

RELATED: ‘Oscars 2022’: Chris Rock’s ‘GI Jane’ Joke That Outraged Will Smith, Explained