‘You’re Just Looking for Attention Hair Line!’: Stephen A. Smith Slammed for Trashing Will Smith’s Comeback After Admitting He Wanted the Star to Portray Him In a Biopic, Smith Responds

Stephen A. Smith is not ready to support Will Smith at the box office until he knows the real reason the generational talent snapped at the 2022 Academy Awards.

On the biggest night of his career, the actor walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock over an unfavorable joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her shaved head. The actress has said she has alopecia, something those around Rock claimed he was unaware of when he compared her to “G.I. Jane.”

That night, Will won his first Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, in “King Richard.” However, his victory and those of others from the night were overshadowed by the blow to his image that occurred when he struck his peer.

Stephen A. Smith addressed backlash to him not embracing Will Smith’s comeback after slapping Chris Rock. (Photos: The Stephen A. Smith Show/YouTube; Willsmith/Instagram.)

Several weeks later, Will issued a public apology on video, was banned by the Academy, and later told Trevor Noah that his actions were a culmination of him going through something that he has not spoken of publicly. Stephen says it is time he revealed those factors.

“Chris Rock will never get over that, ever,” said the ESPN personality on the June 7 episode of “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on YouTube. “Somewhere along the way he has to sit down and talk to the Black community. You can see all the white people around Will Smith all you want to, Black folks have loved, revered this man for decades.”

“He was the closest thing to perfection,” Smith continued. “Everybody makes a mistake. This is not hatred, I love Will Smith, still. But you gotta have a conversation as to why you did that,” continued Stephen.

The sports commentator said that when Will slapped Rock, he “tarnished an historic event for one of the great Black producers of modern times, Will Packer.

Possibly costing yourself and Antoine Fuqua an Oscar for ‘Emancipation’ along the way,” before noting that the actor would not have slapped white comics known for their offensive humor and racy comments.

The “First Take” host ultimately said that the hype surrounding “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” left him unmoved and that he would not be supporting or embracing Will’s return to the spotlight without that explanation. The fourth installment of his and Martin Lawrence’s franchise opened with a massive $141 million at the box office over its weekend opener that ended on June 9, making the film a blockbuster success and buffing out the blemish of the slap for many fans.

As a result, Stephen’s comments were met with backlash.

“Maybe Stevie boi should be asking Chris Rock to sit down and address the female and the black community for all the hate and negativity he’s said about both for so long. Will Smith slapping TF out of Chris Rock was long overdue,” read a response on Twitter.

A second tweet stated, “He mad cos Will Smith is doing his thing and getting on with his life. Don’t be silly bro. Leave him alone and mind your business!!!!!!!”

While a third said that Smith should be next on the “I Am Legend” star’s hit list. “I hope Will Smith slaps Stephen A when he sees him too,” wrote one person.

A fourth said, “A lot of folks can’t get over Chris constantly disrespecting Wills black wife!!! What about her kids, her family, her colleagues, her mental health?!! Will smith did enough apology interviews etc .. you’re just looking for attention hair line!”

As many railed against him, Stephen attempted to clarify his remarks, saying that he is uncertain he’ll ever get over the slap. He admitted that the incident is personal for him because Rock is his friend, and he felt the “devastating” hit negatively impacted the community.

“I was thinking about Black folks everywhere…Something like that happens and it’s a blemish on all of us because I know how much white America reveres Will Smith,” he said on June 10. After speaking with Will’s longtime friend Charlie Mack, Stephen also made certain to mention that the actor had done far more good throughout his career than that one public error.

Given that his comments came as “Bad Boys” was debuting in theaters, he added that he did not intend to persuade others to boycott. “I wasn’t encouraging anybody else not to do it. I was just saying that I was having trouble dealing with it,” he said. 

Stephen was previously critical of the “Summer Time” rapper in 2022 when he admitted that he wanted Will to portray him in a biopic about his life. At the time, Stephen had just released his book, “Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes.”

“It would’ve been Will Smith before the slap. But I can’t go with him now. I can’t go with him,” he said on “Hell of A Week with Charlamagne tha God.” Even then he acknowledged that Will would rebound from the incident. “We got love for him, but you just don’t do something like that. And Stephen A. wouldn’t do something like that,” he added.

His backup casting choices are Omari Hardwick and Michael B. Jordan.

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