• Jonno White

Chris Rock was wrong to tell that joke about Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett-Smith...

Updated: Apr 7

Will Smith hit Chris Rock in the face at the Oscars.

But Chris Rock was in the wrong...

I was watching the Oscars live with my wife, Liz.

Chris Rock came onto the stage.

Then he told his (now infamous) joke...

"Jada, I love ya. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”

There was nervous laughter.

It didn't seem to land particularly well.

But it also didn't seem to cause a massive stir.

For everyone except Will Smith, that is.

The joke was about Jada's short-cut hairstyle and outfit looking like a female version of GI Joe - GI Jane.

For context, Jada Pinkett-Smith suffers from alopecia, a medical condition causing hairloss.

Suddenly everyone watched with interest as Will Smith walked onto the stage.

Rock smiled nervously.

Smith strutted.

The crowd waited.


Then Will Smith smacked Chris across the mouth.

In my opinion the joke was out of line.

It was inappropriate.

So Will Smith's actions were completely justified.


Or were they?

Absolutely. Not.

'Difficult people' have one thing in common.

They have unrealistic expectations.

Those two words are what make difficult people so... difficult.

Will Smith's behaviour is a great example of unrealistic expectations.

When someone walks around with unrealistic expectations, they often see themselves as moving between two points in Dr. Karpman's drama triangle:

  1. The victim.

  2. The rescuer.

The third point in the drama triangle is the persecutor.

Watch out when you have someone in your life, team or organization who has unrealistic expectations!

Look for the tell-tale sign where they always identify as the victim or the rescuer...

But never the persecutor.

In my opinion, at the moment when Chris Rock told that joke, he was the persecutor, Jada was the victim and Will Smith had the opportunity to be the rescuer.

I'll even believe that was Smith's intention.

To rescue.

However, Smith did the wrong thing when he physically assaulted Chris Rock.

This is where the drama triangle is so helpful.

In that next moment the roles changed.

Chris Rock changed from being the persecutor and became the victim.

And Will Smith went from rescuer to persecutor.

His actions were not the actions of a rescuer.

It doesn't matter what Will Smith's intentions were.

They were the actions of a persecutor.

And for that he should be held accountable.

Do you need to hold someone or some people accountable in your team or organization?

Download my eBook Step Up or Step Out and get reading in 3 minutes!

Click here to download Step Up or Step Out

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