Ethan Klein has come under fire after expressing his opinion about Will Smith slapping comedian Chis Rock at the 2022 Oscar’s Sunday evening.
Following The Slap heard around the world, The H3 Podcast host took to Twitter to share his thoughts, calling Will Smith a “walking [loser]” and saying he should “deal with whatever trauma” he has in relation to his wife Jada Pinkett Smith instead of taking it out on Chris Rock over an “extremely tame joke” made about Jada’s bald head— the result of her autoimmune disorder alopecia.
It is still unclear if Chris was aware of Jada’s condition when he wrote the joke.
Since 2018, Jada has hosted a Facebook web series called Red Table Talk alongside her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. The three generations of women facilitate conversations around difficult topics with various celebrity guests.
In 2020, Jada and Will sat down at the Red Table to publicly discuss their marriage after singer August Alsina told The Breakfast Club that he had a relationship with Jada years ago with her husband’s “blessing”.
The episode revealed the two had temporarily separated around the time of Jada’s relationship with August— which is possibly the “trauma” Ethan was referring to in his tweet.
Ethan continued, tweeting that he was “in awe” that the Oscars continued on as if nothing happened after Will slapped Chris and said people defending Will have “brain rot”.
“Will Smith punched a comedian for doing his job,” he wrote. “He’s a celebrity in the front row of the Oscars where it’s normal to be roasted, bad taste or not.”
Ethan’s wife Hila Klein got involved in the online discourse when someone quote tweeted her husband and wrote, “He defended his wife, something I know you aren’t familiar with”.
Hila responded sarcastically, “My husband should punch people for me if he really loves me right?!? So I can feel safe and secure! And I should go back in the kitchen while he goes to work to provide for me right?! Hell yeah! Good day for us women!”
Ethan joked that he was off to “track down” Trisha Paytas and KEEMSTAR to protect Hila’s honour. Both Trisha and Keem have publicly criticised Hila in the past.
Hila then tweeted a screenshot of The Slap. “I’m proud to say my husband wouldn’t have done this on television for the world to see,” she wrote alongside the photo. “My husband would have used the platform Will got a few minutes later and spit some fire on the mic for me like a badass.”
Ethan responded to Hila’s tweet with a highly controversial statement, appearing to insinuate that he questions if Will is violent towards Jada behind closed doors.
“If you defend your wife with violence in anger, then you probably argue with your wife in violence [with] anger,” he wrote.
Though fans were urging the couple to stop sharing their opinions on the situation, Ethan proceeded to dig himself into a hole even further on today’s episode of The H3 Podcast where he continued to discuss The Slap.
“The man was hired to do a job,” he said of Chris Rock’s joke. “He said a tame joke. If you’ve got a problem with the man, that’s not how you deal with it.”
“I don’t give a fuck about their history, or whatever, or anything. You don’t attack a man for saying a tame joke like that,” he continued.
The creator also doubled down on his controversial tweet that insinuated Will might also be violent at home. “The same people that get violent like that over some bullshit defending their wife are the same people that get violent in anger at home when arguing with their wife,” he said. “That is not normal behaviour.”
The episode has sparked intense backlash from Black fans and people of colour, insisting Ethan needs to diversify his team or refrain from speaking on complex issues that impact the Black community without proper nuance.
“Ethan [Klein] needs to employ a black person so that a discussion about the nuances of assimilation, race discussion, mysognioir & other racial stereotypes and micro aggressions,” tweeted YouTube commentary personality Paige Christie. “The lived experiences aren’t going to be something they can understand and honestly he needs some help.”
Paige went on to say that Ethan’s Black fans are “unsubscribing due to his commentary” about The Slap. She also alleged that moderators in the H3 subreddit have been deleting feedback from people of colour.
Others have criticised how Ethan handled discourse in the episode, as he appeared to shut down different opinions and perspectives on the situation from Black fans that called in as well as his team members.
Ethan has not addressed the backlash at the time of publication.