What Was Going Through Will Smith's Head When He Slapped Chris Rock?

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars may be the most divisive thing to happen in Hollywood so far this year. On one side of the fence were those who said that Smith was totally out of line. Judd Apatow claimed in a since-deleted tweet that Smith could have killed Rock with that slap. That probably isn't true, but there remained a camp of those who thought Smith's actions were violent enough that he should have to return his Oscar. Then, there are those who fully supported Smith's decision to slap Rock in the middle of the live telecast, as he was evidently just standing up for his wife.

Less than an hour later, Smith won best actor for his role in "King Richard." He gave a tearful speech in which he apologized to the Academy and the Williams family, upon whom the film is based. Smith later apologized to Rock via a public note posted to his Instagram.

It was, in short, a wild night. Whether or not Smith was in the right remains up for debate, but one thing everyone can agree on is the burning desire to know what he was thinking when he rushed the stage and attacked Rock. It turns out, he wasn't really thinking at all.

Will Smith was acting impulsively

According to a new report, there wasn't a lot going through Will Smith's head when he slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. "It was very impulsive, and in the moment he was protecting his family," an insider told People. Smith was incensed at the joke Rock made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia.

"Jada was the only thing he was concerned about," the insider explained. "He didn't even consider the ramifications or how shocking he would look. He just thought about protecting and went into that mode of protector and provider." As for any punishment, on behalf of the Academy, it will likely be light. According to Whoopi Goldberg, who acts as a governor in the Academy, Smith will keep his Oscar, per Page Six. "We're not going to take his statue," Goldberg claimed on an episode of "The View." She added, "There will be consequences," but noted that because Rock wasn't pressing charges, Smith's punishment wouldn't result in his losing the Oscar.

For his part, Smith has apologized and agreed with the Academy's statement condemning his actions. "My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable," he wrote in a statement posted to his Instagram, though he noted that going after his wife was a step too far. "Jokes at my expense are a part of the job," he continued, "but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally."