Will Smith Slap: Jamaal Bowman, Ayanna Pressley Tweet, Delete Defense - Rolling Stone
×
×
Home Politics Politics News

‘Thank You Will Smith’: Lawmakers Tweet, Then Delete, Defenses of Oscars Slap

Just like the rest of us, Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Jamaal Bowman weren’t sure how to respond to the most shocking moment in the history of the Academy Awards

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) (2nd L) speaks as (L-R) Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. House Democrats held the news conference to introduce a resolution to remove Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) from her committee assignments over Islamophobic attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) (2nd L) speaks as (L-R) Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. House Democrats held the news conference to introduce a resolution to remove Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) from her committee assignments over Islamophobic attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) speaks as Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) listens during a news conference at the Capitol, on Dec. 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Getty Images

Will Smith walked up onstage and smacked Chris Rock across the face during the Oscars on Sunday night after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss. Lawmakers, like the rest of us, weren’t sure how to react. Two of them, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), posted, then deleted, tweets defending the eventual Best Actor winner.

“#Alopecia nation stand up!” Pressley wrote. “Thank you #WillSmith Shout out to all the husbands who defend their wives living with alopecia in the face of daily ignorance & insults. #Oscars Women with baldies are for real men only only. Boys need not apply.”

Pressley, like Pinkett Smith, is living with alopecia, which causes hair loss. Rock likened Pinkett Smith’s shaved head to G.I. Jane, the 1997 film for which Demi Moore shaved her head. It’s unclear if Rock was aware Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia.

Pressley tweeted on Monday that she doesn’t “endorse violence in any form” while elaborating on living with alopecia. “Let’s talk about what it’s like to live with #alopecia,” she wrote. “The deeply vulnerable & difficult moments that our families see. Appreciation post for those who hold us down & support us when we’re at our lowest points. They see us, fully.”

“Our bodies are not public domain,” she continued. “They are not a line in a joke—especially when the transformation is not of our choosing. I’m a survivor of violence. I’m a proud Alopecian. The psychological toll we carry daily is real. Team Jada always. That’s that on that.”

There wasn’t as much gravitas behind Bowman’s since-deleted tweet. “Teachable Moment: Don’t joke about a Black Woman’s hair,” he wrote after the incident.

Bowman’s office has said the tweet was posted by a staff member before it became clear that the incident was not part of the show.

It was a questionable call, to say the very least, to defend Smith for assaulting Rock onstage. Lawmakers would have probably been better served to have just sat this one out entirely. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) could help himself, either, weighing in with a tired joke — which he has not deleted. “Well, now you know why we had to get him out of Philly to go live with his aunt and uncle in Bel Air,” he wrote.

The worst take from a member of Congress or aspiring member of Congress, however, goes to Lavern Spicer, who used the incident to suggest that white privilege doesn’t exist in America. “So a man gets up on stage, punches the host of the show in the face, curses him out, sits down & then wins an award like nothing happened. Man, that’s some white privilege right there,” she wrote on Twitter. “Oh wait… Will Smith is Black.”

Spicer, a Black woman running for Congress as a Republican in Florida, has not deleted the tweet.

This post has been updated.

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.