Commonwealth Policy Center

Everybody was talking about it around the workplace water cooler for days: the slap. That was when actor Will Smith went up onstage at the Oscars and slapped Chris Rock, who made a joke about his wife’s hair. Rock recomposed himself in light of being treated that way on live TV in front of millions of viewers. Shortly after, Smith was awarded an Oscar for his role in a movie portraying Venus and Serena Williams’ father. Smith awkwardly tried to justify his actions. But there’s no justification for assaulting another person as Smith did. This was a teachable moment. We teach our children about self-control, about handling our emotions in a way that doesn’t resort to violence. It’s a lesson we all need to be reminded of.