Following Chris Rock’s Netflix Special, Mutual Friend Explains Why He And Will Smith Might Finally Be Able To Bury The Hatchet

It's almost hard to believe it, but we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of the 2022 Academy Awards. While the Oscars always have viral moments, last year's ceremony was on another level entirely thanks to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on national television shortly before accepting the Best Actor award. The conversation hasn't slowed down about The Slap, and there will presumably be at least a few references to that event during this year's ceremony. Following Chris Rock’s Netflix special, a mutual friend explained why he and Will Smith might finally be able to bury the hatchet. Let's break it all down.

Over the last year, there has been non-stop discourse over The Slap, with countless people weighing in on who was at fault. After largely keeping quiet, Chris Rock finally shared his thoughts (and jokes at Will Smith's expense) in his new Netflix special Selective Outrage. Their mutual friend comedian Donnell Rawlings recently spoke to TMZ about the two stars' possible reconnection, and why he thinks now might be the time to make it happen. In his words:

If there’s a time to talk it’s right now. The score’s even if you want to say it. Hopefully we can get it passed us, because these are two guys who for the most part stayed out of trouble. I saw Jill Scott right after the Will Smith incident and she said ‘Donnell, Will Smith 30 years unscathed.’ So people have a connection to both those guys, they’re not bad guys. Will they get to the point to hug it out and go to work and everything? They have pictures both of them being friends. Both of them celebrating each other.

Well, there you have it. While Will Smith and Chris Rock reportedly haven't spoken since last year's Oscars, comedian Donnell Rawlings seems to think that it might be a good time to finally open up the conversation. Because although Rock was humiliated on national television, he's finally been able to share his perspective and clap back via his new Netflix special. And as such, Rawlings seems to think they're about even at this point. 

Obviously, it remains to be seen if Will Smith and Chris Rock ever actually find a way to make amends after their viral scuffle at last year's Oscars. But time heals all wounds, although the 2023 Academy Awards and Rock's special both have the potential to dredge up old feelings. While Smith reportedly hasn't watched Selective Outrage, he has apparently seen clips online, specifically, the points where he and his family are referenced. 

It turns out that Chris Rock's stand-up title Selective Outrage was actually a direct reference to Will Smith himself. One excerpt from the groundbreaking Netflix special (which made history for being broadcast live on the app) addressed this directly, with Rock saying:

Will Smith practices selective outrage. Because what the fuck happened, everybody that really knows I had nothing to do with that shit. I didn’t have any ‘entanglements.' I did not have any entanglements. For everybody who doesn’t know, his wife was fucking her son’s friend. I normally wouldn’t not talk about this shit. But for some reason these [racial slur], put that shit on the Internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something that lowdown. We’ve all been cheated on, everybody in here has been cheated on. None of us has ever been interviewed by the person who cheated on us on television… Why the fuck would you do that shit? She hurt him way more than he hurt me. OK? Everybody in the world called him a bitch. I tried to call that man and give him my condolences, he didn’t pick up for me. … Everybody called him a bitch, and who did he hit? Me – a [slur] he knows he could beat. That is some bitch-ass shit!

He certainly didn't mince words. While Chris Rock definitely has the right to share his feelings about that infamous Oscars slap, I have to wonder if Selective Outrage will make things any better between him and Will Smith. The comedian was finally able to share his feelings about the incident, which might be therapeutic. Although he didn't pull his metaphorical punches and made a number of jokes at the King Richard actors' expense. Can you blame him?

Chris Rock's special Selective Outrage is streaming now on Netflix. As for Will Smith, he's got some exciting projects coming down the line including Bad Boys 4. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.