Well, if you’re Fox News host Pete Hegseth and Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner, apparently it’s that the White House decided not to offer up a hot take on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at Sunday night’s Academy Awards.
Two days after the slap heard ’round the world, the all-encompassing cultural discussion over one of the most famous men in the world assaulting a comedian for making a joke about his wife made its way to the White House briefing room.
“You saw the level of violence that was unleash[ed],” Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba asked White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield on Tuesday. “Is that something the White House condones, that type of violence? Do you condemn it, and will you do anything to support comedians who have been attacked and other artists?”
“I don’t have any official comment from the White House on the altercation,” Bedingfield responded. “I know the president was not able to watch the Oscars. Didn’t see it. So I don’t have any official comment from him or from the White House on this.”
During Wednesday morning’s broadcast of The Faulkner Focus, Faulkner brought up the latest reactions to the slap, as well as the president’s lack of commentary on the issue. Before asking Hegseth about that, however, Faulkner admonished President Joe Biden for not clearly focusing and communicating on important topics.
“With all the things we have going on, even [the war in Ukraine] but inflation and crime here and everything we have going on, please stop making all of us focus on what he’s focused on, which is not being clear,” she declared. “You have to have a president who can communicate.”
Without missing a beat, the Faulkner Focus host immediately segued into the Academy Awards kerfuffle and how the Biden administration was ignoring it.
“I want to get to this because it is now beyond the Oscars. This is a bigger situation now with Will Smith and Chris Rock,” Faulkner declared. “It’s opened a door on, you know, what do we want our kids to see and what do we want our society to look like. It’s a bigger thing. The White House has now refused to comment or condemn Will Smith for smacking Chris Rock across the face at the Oscars.”
After airing a clip of the White House briefing exchange, along with footage of The View’s Whoopi Goldberg saying the Academy was likely worried about the optics of booting Smith after the slap, Faulkner mentioned that Smith once slapped a reporter and told “bald jokes” in the past. She then turned to Hegseth to weigh in on the situation.
“The White House has had no problem condemning issues of less consequence,” Hegseth grumbled. “Clearly, they are copping out on this one.”
The Fox & Friends Weekend co-host also took a shot at Goldberg and others for “looking at it through the lens of race,” wondering aloud what would have happened if “that was Mel Gibson who slapped” someone on stage.
“I don’t know if Whoopi noticed but everybody in that configuration was Black,” Faulkner replied. “I don’t know how you pick and choose. I guess you do when it’s your narrative.”
In the aftermath of the slap, Fox News hosts and pundits have been all over the place with their commentary. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, for instance, exclaimed that the “Oscars are not the hood” while fellow Five co-host Jesse Watters sneered that this is “the first time I’ve seen the media cover Black-on-Black crime.”