“The Slap” Is a Trap

Everybody has an opinion on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. But do they really need to share it?


Episode Notes

During the Oscars on Sunday night, Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock, after Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. As soon as the internet figured out the slap wasn’t a bit, the takes rained down upon Twitter. On today’s episode, Madison and Rachelle discourse about the discourse, discussing the never-ending online take machine, how media narratives are shaped, and why we initially questioned whether the slap was real or not.

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder.


About the Show

Join Rachelle Hampton twice a week as we gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back.

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  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr’s demise.

  • Madison Malone Kircher is a senior writer at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. She was previously a staff writer at New York magazine, where she covered internet culture and edited New York’s Approval Matrix. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Vulture, and the Cut. Madison lives in Brooklyn, where she regularly drops her phone on her face watching TikToks in bed.