In the aftermath of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars, some celebrity reactions came in for more heat than others.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan received backlash when he tweeted, “I’m still disgusted. We don’t deserve the brilliance of @chrisrock. ‘When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,’ – Donald Trump and Will Smith.”
Twitter users were particularly critical of his comparison of Smith to Donald Trump.
You just compared Will Smith to Donald Trump!? pic.twitter.com/lVmq603uFq
— The Optimist (@ChosenPeace711) March 28, 2022
Wow. What a brave and idiotic comparison pic.twitter.com/4frbU5SoL3
— Django the Tarnished✯ (@SleepyDjango) March 28, 2022
He later deleted the tweet after being hit with plenty of criticism from users, admitting in another tweet that it was a “bad comparison” but striking back at people who “continue to defend physical assault.”
Okay bad comparison on my part. I was trying to make a point but it doesn't matter. FYI, i didn't think the joke was brilliant. I said Chris Rock is brilliant. I still do and we don't deserve his brilliance. Please continue to defend physical assault. It says so much. https://t.co/kl4euFg6Zp
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) March 28, 2022
“Knocked Up” director Judd Apatow deleted a tweet of his own, which read, “He could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) March 28, 2022
In another deleted tweet, Apatow joked about Oscars co-host Amy Schumer needing to watch out for Smith at the Vanity Fair afterparty.
Judd Apatow letting every ounce of subtle racism come out at once pic.twitter.com/QRWKS7Rlxt
— Chi☀️ (@therechigoes) March 28, 2022
And in another, he joked that Jada could have “thrown a better punch.”
I’m going to go ahead and Block Judd Apatow pic.twitter.com/RqVP9EwFrU
— Valerie Complex @ L. A. (@ValerieComplex) March 28, 2022
On Monday’s SiriusXM’s Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw, Apatow clarified his take on the Oscar fiasco.
He said: “Lately, I just don’t mind taking tweets down. You know what I mean? Like why do they have to live up there forever? Sometimes something happens and you go on a little joke writing surge, like something is so ridiculous like that. And so, you’re home and you’re bored and you write ten jokes that make you laugh. And then you listen to people debate whether or not, ‘oh, it wasn’t that big a deal,’ or ‘it was a big deal.’ And then you go to bed and you’re like, ‘I don’t care.’ I don’t need people debating my stupid impulsive comments for the rest of my life. I’m sure it is more complicated in some way, but my basic thought is just, there are people we look up to and people copy them. And so, we don’t want our big night in Hollywood where we’re supposed to be proud of the work we’ve done and our industry become something that looks like people losing their minds on a long flight, you know. It’s not good for anybody involved, what happened. And I hope something comes out of it, which is a lesson. I hope people speak honestly about it. I hope that Will Smith takes the opportunity to explain himself in a way that will remind people that that’s not how we deal with moments when we’re aggrieved.”
Adding, “The truth is that I wasn’t watching the show at that time. I was on the phone talking to a friend and then while we were on the phone, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, Will Smith just punched Chris Rock.’ And so, I actually haven’t watched it in context of the show. I’ve seen the clips. So, I’m not sure. My personal thought was I didn’t quite understand the offense, but I may be misreading it because to me, G.I. Jane was the most gorgeous woman in the world. It was Demi Moore at her strongest, most gorgeous. And the point of that movie was that she shaved her head and she looked fantastic. And so, when you say, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have to do G.I. Jane 2,’ and maybe it’s just how I interpret it, I think he’s saying she’s a bada**. You could use a different example and make it a really hurtful joke. And so, I don’t know, but there may be more levels to it that I don’t understand. And I don’t know all the relationships involved.”