Alton Brown Fans Are Upset By His Reaction To Will Smith's Oscars Controversy

It was the smack heard round the internet. Oscars presenter and legendary comedian Chris Rock was taking aim at A-listers in the audience, and he eventually landed on Jada Pinkett Smith (via People). Noted for the courage she has shown in dealing with alopecia, says CNN, she proudly displays her super-short locks, a bold move for one in an industry that covets conventional beauty standards. But Rock found it fair game, and sarcastically lauded Pinkett Smith for starring in a fictional sequel to "G.I. Jane," a 1997 film in which Demi Moore shaved her head to play a U.S. Navy lieutenant (via IMDb.)

This apparently crossed the line for Mr. Smith, who strode on stage and dealt Rock a serious open-hand smack. A visibly-stunned Rock continued his presentation of the Best Documentary category, but was again interrupted by Smith, who admonished him to not speak his wife's name, punctuated with a choice expletive.

As expected, many celebrities took to Twitter to sound off on the incident. Some, such as Rosie O'Donnell, referred to it as a display of "toxic masculinity." Others, such as 50 Cent, found the move humorous.

One reaction that is drawing the ire of many is that of chef and TV personality Alton Brown, who vociferously praised Smith's smack, writing, "I cannot find the words to describe my love for #WillSmith right now."

Where does Brown stand?

Alton Brown is a mercurial figure in the food world and beyond. He is beloved for his ground-breaking Food Network cooking show "Good Eats" that not just presented recipes but dug into the science underlying them. Yet his political stance, which is probably best described as center right, turns some folks off, explains Eater. Regardless of his politics, Brown's take on what many view as an outsized response from Smith is being met with criticism.

One Twitter user, who purports to be a lawyer in Pennsylvania, asked if "assault is suddenly okay" as a reaction to a joke. 

Another tweeted that, while she understands the "Southern Gentleman" aspect of Brown's take (he is from Georgia, as the New York Times reports) ultimately it was a "bad reaction to a poorly chosen joke."

This isn't the first time that Brown has stirred up controversy online. The Daily Beast notes that a pair of 2020 tweets he posted referenced aspects of the Holocaust that many found deeply troubling. He later deleted those tweets and apologized for the "flippant reference" that he claimed was a reflection of "how deeply frightened I am for our country right now."