'It's Staged': Some People Believe Will Smith Oscars Slap Isn't Real

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscar awards Sunday night sparked debate among some viewers about whether or not the slap was staged.

Smith slapped Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair and went to tell him to keep his wife's name out of his mouth. Videos of the confrontation have been viewed millions of time on Twitter, where conversation about the slap continued to dominate into Monday morning, dividing fans.

Some of the conversation centered on if the slap was authentic, with some claiming the video was "staged"—even though there has been no substantial evidence to back up the claim.

One Twitter user, @ProjectMememar, wrote that he believes they saw Rock "grimacing" in the moments leading up to the slap. When asked by other user why the confrontation would be staged, the user said to "boost buzz for an event that has sunk to record lows in ratings."

Adweek editor David Griner wrote: "A slow walk up, an open hand slap, no stagger, slow walk back with no scuffle and no security personnel stepping in? Feels absolutely staged for publicity."

Twitter user Josh Rush wrote: "Everyone falling for the Will Smith/Chris Rock publicity stunt like it wasn't staged because the Oscars ratings have fallen 5 years in a row..."

"Chris Rock lowkey braced himself for impact! I'm 100% on the side of it was staged! Damn fun night on Twitter though," wrote Twitter user Marquis Flowers.

Journalist Seth Abramson, wrote that even if it was not staged, he hoped it would be.

"This feels to me like another sign that the world is off its hinges, so I sure hope we are going to find out that—despite there being no evidence of it—this was staged," he wrote.

Many other people also pointed out the lack of evidence that the video is staged and put forth other arguments that the slap authentically happened.

Journalist Alexander Panetta dismissed the claims the slap was staged, writing: "My favourite part of the Oscars incident is seeing folks I follow who think COVID was a big conspiracy and who also think support for Ukraine is a big conspiracy now also think the slap was a conspiracy, staged for publicity. Welcome to the kooky singularity."

Another Twitter user, @thatsillyhelen, pointed out that television networks were forced to quickly censor Smith's use of obscenities after the slap.

"Also you think they STAGED chris rock making a joke about JPS's traumatic medical condition so will smith could pretend to be mad and disrupt the oscars????" she added.

The incident quickly became the main focus of the event, dominating headlines and dividing fans. Many quickly condemned Smith for slapping Rock. But some criticized Rock for making a joke about Pinkett Smith's hair, given that she has the condition alopecia.

The slap also drew a strong response from celebrities, many of whom were in attendance of the award show.

The Academy wrote in a tweet early Monday morning they do "not condone violence of any form."

"Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world," they wrote.

Newsweek reached out to the Oscars for comment Monday morning for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

Will Smith, Chris Rock slap staged debate
Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscar awards Sunday night sparked debate among some viewers about whether or not the slap was staged. Above, Smith and Rock are seen just after the incident. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images