In all the news articles, opinion pieces and talking heads chatting about this weekend’s Oscar debacle, I am not hearing from one voice. A voice that frankly is at the center of all this kerfuffle. Where’s Jada in all this? 

The posturing of media personalities about is Chris right? How wrong was Will? What drove him to it? This is what toxic masculinity leads to! NO, it’s toxic femininity that made him do it. 

It’s all a bunch of smoke in my opinion. Assuming all of it wasn’t a stunt, and there’s been no statement that it was, just the basic internet rumors, it’s a stain on  what is supposed to be a night of glamour. 

Chris Rock was making an ill-thought-out joke. His humor was attacking a woman, who he said he loved, so I presume he meant no ill-will beyond poking fun to get a laugh. But it was at the expense of someone for something they cannot control and that is no longer, if it ever truly was, fair game. His comment was a mistake, and yes there are better ways to handle it.

Will Smith’s response to the comment was also ill-thought out. It was apparently an emotional response to his wife’s displeasure. Men have been doing that since the dawn of time. Wars were fought over a woman’s desires and honor throughout history, and in many a high school parking lot. The dynamic is nothing new.

Only here it was played out on the one of the world’s biggest stages.

But there’s a player who we haven’t heard from. Mrs. Smith herself.

As the woman who was the target of the humor, her feelings on the matter should be considered. How does she feel about what was said? How does she feel about what her husband did?

On the one hand, arguably she was being picked on in a global setting. Maybe she felt immense embarrassment and humiliation at having her medical condition and its impact made the subject of a joke. I could certainly understand if that were the case for her. I have no idea what her personal journey and experience of this condition has been and wouldn’t dare to suggest what that has been or how she should handle it.

On the other hand, she may have had momentary embarrassment but feels that the awareness it brought to the condition of alopecia is worth it, and her husband overreacted and that’s what causes her further embarrassment.

We don’t know what she felt at the time, though the pictures of her reaction seem to be it was not fun for her, because we have not heard from her. And we may never hear her side of this. She may choose, much like it appears Mr. Rock is doing, to put this behind her and move forward. To celebrate her successes, and those of her husband, and to focus on the positive.

I do find it curious though that the focus has been on the men in this event, and so little attention has been paid to her in this debacle. It strikes me as taking away her agency as a modern woman. Why, if she was upset by the comment, didn’t she stand and do something? Was she going to address it separately? Unknowns all around and to a dozen other questions. And all of it, was frankly hers to do.

This is an ugly experience that I’m certain all wish hadn’t happened. But it can be a learning moment for all. To learn more about alopecia, to understand that picking on someone about a condition they cannot control is not fair game, that the roles of men and women and the expectations of chivalry may or may not, still exist. 

In the end, it is a stain on the Oscars, it’s a moment that  Mr. Smith has already apologized for and curiously, Mr. Rock hasn’t apologized for what is clearly something very upsetting to at least Mr. Smith, and quite possibly Mrs. Smith.

Mr. Smith deserves to be recognized for more than just his remarkable acting. This weekend he made a mistake, and moved immediately to apologize. He showed that he is both a flawed human, and capable of recognizing his flaws.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments.  He can be reached at or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra