Stephen A. Smith Claims 'Lot of Folks Find It Hard' to Watch Will Post-Slap as New 'Bad Boys' Tops $100 Million

'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' had a massive opening weekend at the box office, both domestically and abroad. Stephen, meanwhile, is still thinking about 2022.

Video via Stephen A. Smith

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Video via Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith has a lot to say about Will Smith following the (extremely successful both critically and commercially) release of his and Martin Lawrence’s Bad Boys: Ride or Die.

The fourth installment in the Bad Boys franchise, as you’ve no doubt heard by now, stacked up more than $100 million at the global box office during its opening weekend, all while garnering largely positive reviews in the process. Put another way, the general public seems more than ready to again embrace Big Will at the top-tier movie star level, having long ago left The Slap in the proverbial rearview. Stephen A. Smith, however, feels differently.

During a recent segment on his show, Smith first told viewers he "will never stop being a Will Smith fan" and will "in all likelihood" be seeing the new Bad Boys film in theaters. But the rest of his segment, which began with the host pointing out a photo he and Will took together during the actor’s Concussion era, sees Smith going in a more critical direction.

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In short, Smith says he wants to see "an actual sit-down interview" focused on the Oscar-winning actor’s Chris Rock slap. According to Smith, Rock "will never get over that, ever" and is thus "damaged." The actor’s decision to slap the comedian, he added, "tarnished" the evening in question in 2022, at least from his perspective.

"We know you wouldn’t have smacked Ricky Gervais, Bill Maher, Bill Burr or a host of others," Smith, who more specifically argued that the Fresh Prince alum should "sit down and talk to the Black community," said over the weekend. "We know you wouldn’t have done that. No apology necessary. I’m just saying a lot of folks ain’t get over that. A lot of folks find it hard to just go to the movies to watch you. I’m one of those people."

Elsewhere, Smith also (ultimately inaccurately) predicted a fall for Ride or Die’s box office dollars. The First Take personality also told viewers he’s "not nearly as interested" in seeing a new Will-starring blockbuster as he is in seeing "an actual sit-down interview." He's also not done with this topic at large, as he was teasing more on the horizon as of Sunday evening.

Yep. I said it. But I have some additional thoughts — thinking about all that Will & Martin have done for us all — especially after talking to my man Charlie Mack. I’ve got more to say on “The Stephen A. Smith Show/Podcast” tomorrow.

— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 10, 2024

To be clear, Smith has spoken publicly about the slapcident several times, including in an initial social media statement and in a more in-depth video several months later. Also, to be even more clear, the slap occurred more than two years ago, with subsequent coverage almost immediately becoming insufferable in 2022. It’s 2024 now and the world has decidedly moved on, as perhaps best evidenced in this weekend’s truly impressive box office haul for the latest Bad Boys sequel.

That’s the overarching sentiment Stephen’s remarks are being met with, as seen below. 

The film debuted with over 100 million this weekend globally, it is projected to make 400-500M. You just talk for the sake of talking, but the theaters are full.

You are the only one who thinks this way, the cinemas and box offices say otherwise.

— PREVIS DANIEL H. S (@PrevisDaniel) June 10, 2024

Cornball activities

— DonatelloThaGr8 (@DonatelloThaGr8) June 10, 2024

You sound lame

— Frenchy Harvest (@France_LA_Mixon) June 10, 2024

— Tiff (@choklit_chic) June 10, 2024

— Bobby Geee (@B0bbyGeee) June 10, 2024

this ultra CORNY

— Ghost @ The Cool Table (@CoolTableGhost) June 10, 2024

Here to tell you … we don’t care lol

— PUSH A TEEE🇬🇭 ™ (@Tuesday_Antwi) June 10, 2024


— Queenly 2024 (@huegolden) June 10, 2024

Imma just leave this here

— SWÉCRED (@Dr_Sway) June 10, 2024

— Peoples Hernandez (@KinggPatt) June 10, 2024

Among the projects expected to be next on Smith's slate are a sequel to I Am Legend and the crime thriller Sugar Bandits. The latter, per recent reports, is set to be directed by Sicario: Day of the Soldado and Gomorrah’s Stefano Sollima.

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