Steve Harvey Discusses Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars, Shares the 'Man Thing' Actor Should Have Done

The globally discussed slap was addressed in a public statement from Will Smith on Monday, in which the 'King Richard' actor apologized to Rock.

Steve Harvey and Will Smith are pictured at different events

Images via Getty/Paras Griffin & Getty/Karwai Tang

Steve Harvey and Will Smith are pictured at different events

Steve Harvey has now given his take on Will Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars ceremony. 

The Judge Steve Harvey and Family Feud host believes the King Richard Oscar-winner “overreacted” to Rock’s G.I. Jane 2 joke directed at Jada Pinkett Smith, who Tuesday welcomed a “season for healing” in a timely Instagram post. Harvey also questioned the circumstances surrounding the slap, arguing that it was a “Hollywood move” due to Smith’s knowledge that Rock would be unable to react in the moment.

“I understand defending the honor of your wife, I’m that dude. … He didn’t do that. That joke was not worthy of the reaction,” Harvey said during a recent discussion with his Steve Harvey Morning Show panel. “If he was gonna have a reaction, I think that Will should have done the man thing, which is step to him afterwards in that press room. And if he wanted to slap Chris then, he could have slapped Chris in the press room and seen how it went.”

Making his way to the “Hollywood move” point, Harvey said that an incident of this variety “in real life” wouldn’t have played out the same way. 

“See, he laughed at the joke until he saw Jada’s reaction,” Harvey said. “But now, let me tell you something. That’s a Hollywood move now to go up there on national TV, slap another Black man, turn around … and walk off because you know he can’t do nothing.”

In Harvey’s opinion, Smith “overreacted” and will likely face “some type of banning” from the Oscars in connection with the slap, coverage of which has taken zero pauses since the televised moment went down on Sunday. Harvey—who had his own viral moment a few years back thanks to a Miss Universe mishap—also shouted out the advice Denzel Washington gave Smith, as well as mentioned the artist formerly known as Kanye West’s recent Grammys controversy.

“There’s gonna be some type of banning from the Oscars of Will Smith,” Harvey said. “Because look, they took Kanye off the Grammys for saying a racial slur about Trevor Noah. They took him off the Grammys. The Oscars is all Hollywood is about. It’s their biggest moment. And for you to do that on their biggest moment, on their biggest night? Denzel told him right, ‘In your biggest moment is when the devil comes for you.’ You should have handled that totally different, man.”

Hear more from Harvey and his Morning Show panel below. At one point, Harvey is heard describing Smith’s Best Actor acceptance speech as “raggedy.”

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Worth pointing out here is that Harvey’s comments were made prior to Smith releasing a public statement addressing the slap. In the statement, available to read in full below, Smith said he had “reacted emotionally” to Rock’s joke about Jada.

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,” Smith, whose 2022 win marked his third time being up for the Academy’s Best Actor distinction, said Monday. “I was out of line and I was wrong.”

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