Zoë Kravitz says she wishes she handled response to Will Smith slap ‘differently’ after receiving online backlash

Zoë Kravitz said “it’s a scary time to have an opinion” after receiving online backlash for her comments reacting to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year.

During the awards ceremony in March, Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife’s bald head. Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia, which has led to her hair loss.

In the wake of the controversy, Kravitz made comments about Smith in two now-deleted Instagram posts. “Here’s a picture of my dress at the show where we are apparently assaulting people on stage now,” the “Big Little Lies” actor captioned one of the posts.

Fans responded negatively, and in a recent profile for the Wall Street Journal, Kravitz addressed the backlash and said that it is difficult to have conversations on social media platforms.

“It’s a scary time to have an opinion or to say the wrong thing or to make controversial art or statements or thoughts or anything,” she said. “It’s mostly scary because art is about conversation. That should, in my opinion, always be the point. The internet is the opposite of conversation. The internet is people putting things out and not taking anything in.”

Kravitz added that she would have handled the situation “differently” now.

“I was reminded that I’m an artist. Being an artist is not about everybody loving you or everyone thinking you’re hot,” Kravitz said. “It’s about expressing something that will hopefully spark a conversation or inspire people or make them feel seen. I think I’m in a place right now where I don’t want to express myself through a caption or a tweet. I want to express myself through art.”

Kravitz added: “I’m torn about what to say right now because I’m supposed to just talk about it; I have very complicated feelings around it. I wish I had handled that differently. And that’s OK.”

Smith recently posted a nearly six-minute video on his YouTube channel apologizing to Rock for slapping him in March. This is the second time he has apologized publicly after releasing a statement in March on Instagram.

“I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk and, when he is, he will reach out,” Smith said. “I apologize to you. I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”

Rock hasn’t made any direct comments about the slap but he has joked about it during several of his comedy shows.

Smith has been banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years following the altercation.


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