Rep. Ayanna Pressley has apparently walked back a tweet that seemed to praise Will Smith after the slapping incident with Chris Rock at the Academy Awards Sunday night (March 27).
The post comes amid a storm of controversy over Smith’s action, which was in response to a joke Rock told about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith before presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary, which went to Roots drummer Questlove for his film Summer of Soul.
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” he said in reference to Jada’s close-shaved head, which she has said is a result of her recent struggles with the hair condition alopecia. G.I. Jane was a 1997 film starring Demi Moore who played a character that shaved her hair off during a vigorous U.S. Navy program.
After the joke, Smith, 53, walked on stage and slapped Rock. He returned to his seat and shouted at the 57-year-old to “keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” Within the hour, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father Richard Williams in King Richard. During his acceptance speech, Smith did not specifically apologize to Rock, however, he issued an apology yesterday (March 28).
Rock was reportedly unaware Pinkett-Smith had alopecia.
The now-deleted tweet from the Massachusetts congresswoman read, “Alopecia nation stand up! Thank you [Will Smith]. Shout out to all the husbands who defend their wives living with alopecia in the face of daily ignorance & insults.”
Pressley lives with alopecia, as does Pinkett-Smith and has been open in recent years about her challenges with it. She also revealed her bald hairstyle when she talked about dealing with the condition.
After being accused of condoning violence, Pressley tweeted, “My life’s work has always been about trauma & healing. I’m a survivor - I don’t endorse violence in any form,” she wrote on Monday morning (March 28).
She continued, “Let’s talk about what it’s like to live with #alopecia. The deeply vulnerable & difficult moments that our families see. Appreciation post for those who hold us down & support us when we’re at our lowest points. They see us, fully. #IYKYK.”
“Our bodies are not public domain,” Pressley closed. “They are not a line in a joke—especially when the transformation is not of our choosing. I’m a survivor of violence. I’m a proud Alopecian. The psychological toll we carry daily is real. Team Jada always. That’s that on that.”