Did the Oscar’s slap incident make Will Smith more money?
Will Smith has had a rocky year. He kicked off 2022 in triumphant fashion, winning a Best Actor Oscar for his performance for King Richard, but it came on the heels of an outburst and a physical attack on comedian Chris Rock. Smith stormed the Oscar stage and slapped Rock in the face, then proceeded to yell at him for making jokes about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
It was a bad look for all parties involved, but Smith bore most of the brunt. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences decided to ban the actor from attending the Oscars for the next ten years, and audiences criticized Smith for betraying the family-friendly image he’d spent three decades building.
Has Smith’s net worth taken a hit after he hit Rock? Or has it actually gone up? Let’s do some investigating.
Smith’s rise to fame
Will Smith has one of the most versatile and celebrated careers in pop culture. He got his start as a rapper in the 1980s, putting out albums as one-half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The duo proved to be a crossover sensation, and were actually the first hip-hop act to win a Grammy. Smith rode the wave of success into a television show, which was titled The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and ran from 1990 to 1996.
Smith became a household name thanks to the show. He was nominated for back-to-back Golden Globes in 1993 and 1994, and once again parlayed his success into a higher stratosphere: movies. He scored a minor hit with Bad Boys (1995), then went nuclear with the one-two punch of Independence Day (1996) and Men in Black (1997). If movie stardom wasn’t enough, Smith revitalized his music career with Big Willie Style, which spawned his biggest hits to date and went nine-times platinum. By the end of the decade, Smith was arguably the biggest celebrity on the planet.
The success kept right on coming in the 21st century. Smith continued to lead commercial blockbusters like Bad Boys II (2003), Hitch (2005), and I Am Legend (2007). He also earned Oscar nominations for Ali (2001) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2005).
Controversies & career struggles
Smith’s movie career hit a dry spell in the 2010s. With the exception of Men in Black 3 (2012), his output was either critically reviled or failed to live up to the high expectations of his past work. This dry spell coincided with personal drama between Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The latter revealed that she’d had an affair with R&B singer August Alsina, and discussed the affair with Smith on her show Red Table Talk.
The response to the affair was polarizing, with many criticizing Pinkett Smith for her seeming lack of regret and Smith for his unwavering support. The reputation of both was hampered, and laid the groundwork for what would eventually take place at the Oscars.
Smith rebounded in the 2020s with the surprise hits Bad Boys for Life (2021) and King Richard (2022), with the latter earning him the best reviews of his career. He was the Best Actor frontrunner heading into the Oscars, which is why he was sitting in the front row, and the rest, as they say, is history. He slapped Chris Rock, then proceeded to collect his Oscar shortly after.
What many expected to be the crowning moment of Smith’s career became an infamous one, and some speculated that he would not be able to recover.
Smith’s net worth post-slap
So what has become of Smith since the slap heard ‘round the world? He’s kept a relatively low profile, uploading to his YouTube channel and doing the occasional interview. His movie career stalled, with Bad Boys 4 and Fast and Loose being shelved and fueling speculation that he’s on the outs with Hollywood.
Smith doesn’t have any movies in the works, and his last release, Emancipation, received a mediocre 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. He has definitely not made more money since the incident, and if anything, the cancellation of anticipated sequels has kept him collecting paychecks he otherwise would have.
Currently, Smith has a $350 million net worth. He remains one of the wealthiest actors in the world, but it’s not yet clear how far this number will dip if he continues to struggle in finding blockbuster roles.