Speed Reads

the slap

Tiffany Haddish defends Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars: 'I saw a Black man stand up for his wife'

Tiffany Haddish is rushing to Will Smith's defense over the slap heard around the world.

Smith shocked viewers at the 2022 Oscars on Sunday by slapping comedian Chris Rock during the live broadcast over a joke about Smith's wife. The King Richard actor drew a wave of criticism for the outburst — but Haddish, who presented at the Oscars, is praising him for it.

"When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife," Haddish told People. "That meant so much to me." 

The jaw-dropping moment happened after Rock made a bald joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. After Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock, the U.S. broadcast's audio dropped out for an extended period of time, but in Australia, he could be heard telling Rock to "keep my wife's name out of your f--king mouth!" 

Haddish told People, "As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, 'Keep my wife's name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,' that's what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you. And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives." 

Others in the industry condemned Smith, with writer and director Judd Apatow in a since-deleted tweet writing, "He could have killed him. That's pure out of control rage and violence. "

Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Twitter it "does not condone violence of any form" without directly mentioning Smith. It was unclear whether any actions would be taken against the actor, who was seen dancing to "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" at an Oscars afterparty.