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Will Smith Vs. Chris Rock. Is it ever OK to slap?

Chris Holbrook Find Out Now Market Research

Chris Holbrook

30th Mar, 2022 | 6 mins read

Following an incident at the Oscars last Sunday, where Will Smith walked on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock, we asked a nationally representative sample of 2,042 GB adults whether he was right to do so, and if it is ever right to slap another person.

Respondents were also asked if they had ever slapped anyone, and who they would slap if they could.

Q1. Was Will Smith right to slap Chris Rock at the Oscars after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia?

I don’t know20%

Just over one third of respondents thought Will Smith’s actions were justified.

Males, those over 55, manual workers, Brexiteers, Conservative and SNP voters side with Will Smith more than other groups:

Aged 55-64, 65+38%, 43%
Social Economic Group: C2, DE44%, 37%
Leave voters40%
Conservative, SNP voters38%, 42%

Full nationally representative report here

Q2. Is it ever right to slap someone?

I don’t know17%

Nearly half of men told us they think it is sometimes right to slap another person, compared to only a third of women. In contrast to the responses to Q1, over-55s were no more in favour of slapping than other age groups, 18-24s being the most in favour:

Aged 18-2444%
Manual workers (SEG C2)45%
Yorkshire & Humber residents47%

Full nationally representative report here

Q3. Have you, as an adult, every slapped someone?

I can’t remember7%

Most people have never slapped someone else, but some demographic groups have more than others, including men, over 45s, less affluent socio-economic groups, East Anglians, Brexit and fringe party voters:

45-64s, Over 65s26%, 27%
Socio-economic groups C2DE26%
Leave voters28%
“Other” voters34%

Full nationally representative report here

Q4. If you could slap someone right now, who would it be?

We also asked a broadly nationally representative sample of 1,021, who they would slap if they could. Notable results were:

Vladimir Putin211
Boris Johnson107
An ex-partner22
Current partner20
Will Smith12
Chris Rock9
Rishi Sunak9
Current boss7
Keir Starmer4

Find Out Now founder Chris Holbrook said: “Everyone agrees that violence must not be condoned. But it seems that quite a lot of people in Britain have sympathy with Will Smith on this occasion.”

About the survey

Find Out Now polled 4,658 GB adults online between 28-29 March 2022. Results are based on a nationally representative sub-sample of 2,042 within ±1% of ONS quotas for age, gender, socio-economic group, past voting, and region.   

Find Out Now are members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules.