The Slap Heard Around the World

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

The 94th Academy Awards aired on March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, California. No one expected to witness a battery during the show, a battery that would spur the creation of hundreds of memes, incite controversial conversations, and confront uncomfortable norms. Even the audience present during the confrontation was completely perplexed by it. Will Smith? The man who would win Best Actor just a few minutes later and talk about love. Will Smith? Did he really just slap Chris Rock for a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair? In front of everyone? In the middle of Chris Rock's set? At the Oscars?

Most people thought the interaction was a stunt, a joke between the two comedians, but it very quickly became clear that this was no stunt. Will Smith had snapped in a very public setting and battered Chris Rock.

What Is Battery?

In New Jersey, battery is simply nonconsensual contact. There is no minimum contact requirement for an action to constitute a battery. If you touch someone, even gently, without their consent, that is considered a battery.

Will Smith heard Chris Rock tell a not-so-nice joke about his wife's hair. He marched up the steps during Chris's set, slapped him, and then screamed obscenities at him from his seat. He did not ask for consent. This was not self-defense or physical defense of another, no one was in danger. There is no excuse for his behavior-- his anger got the better of him.

Losing Control

In the regular world, far away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood, individuals are physically abused every second of the day – roughly 20 people every minute. Most of these statistics are found in domestic violence cases, where individuals are subjected to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by intimate partners, people who live together, or family members.

The catalyst to most batteries is a loss of control. “The defendant just snapped” is heard in courts around the country, all day long. And the reality is, if a Hollywood star with a ton of money, a loving family, and a massive career behind and ahead of him can snap, even regular people with regular stressors can – and do. When this happens, those regular people will be charged with domestic violence or assault and battery. They will have to show up to court and defend themselves. There won't be the option to simply back away from their career and apologize for their actions.

How A Defense Attorney Can Help

A skilled domestic violence defense attorney can help. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent his entire career helping individuals accused of domestic violence. He will gather evidence, question witnesses, and prepare a strategic defense that will guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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