After Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2022 Oscars, Will Smith slapped him, leaving shocked viewers wondering what led to the incident. As a study in comparison, one body language expert decoded the Smiths’ reaction to an earlier joke by co-host Regina Hall — and we know why the couple reacted so differently to Rock’s jab.
At the ceremony, Hall joked that some of the show’s COVID-19 tests were lost, and “emergency testing” had to be done on some of Hollywood’s hottest bachelors — plus Will Smith. Hall poked fun at the Smiths’ open marriage, quipping to Will, “You're married, but you know what? You're on the list, and it looks like Jada approved you, so you get on up here!”
Body language expert Jess Ponce III describes how the Smiths laughed at Hall’s joke while looking “sweetly embarrassed” and “composed,” and says Jada “lifted her hand and pointed to the stage as if to say, ‘You got me, and I see you.’” However, Will’s body language afterward begs the question, “Could [Jada] be hiding something?”
Ponce says that after Will laughing at Hall’s joke, “He leaned in Jada's direction, as if to affirm his affection for her.” Even though the couple took the little roast in stride, Will is ultimately concerned with his wife being offended or hurt, which leads us to Chris Rock’s joke, and why Will reacted so differently.
As it turns out, Rock already had a history of mocking Jada: When the Smiths boycotted the 2016 Oscars, Rock quipped, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited.” Will may have had underlying anger or hurt towards Rock, despite Will’s innocuous reaction moments before the slap heard ‘round the world.