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Strikingly Similar? Comparing Will Smith's and CJ Gimenez's Slaps

Before Will Smith delivered the slap heard round the world, CJ Gimenez delivered the slap heard round Miami.
Before Will Smith delivered the slap heard round the world, CJ Gimenez delivered the slap heard round Miami. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images, Screenshot via Coral Gables Television/YouTube
When actor and famed "(Welcome to) Miami" singer Will Smith struck comedian Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars on Sunday evening, it was the slap heard round the world, as international news media reported on the incident and social-media onlookers shared their takes in 280 characters or less.

This news comes only six weeks since Carlos "CJ" Giménez, the son of U.S. Congressman and former Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez, delivered the slap heard round Miami-Dade County when he reportedly smacked Miami Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla in the face at a high-end steakhouse in Coral Gables.

Smith and Giménez are both married and have children. Of course, Giménez was not on live TV when he approached Díaz de la Portilla, and, as far as we know, Smith was not arrested or facing criminal charges following the incident whereas Giménez spent the night in jail. Giménez has yet to publicly apologize to the person he is accused of slapping, whereas Smith's reps released a public apology to Rock on Monday evening, saying the Man in Black was "out of line" and "wrong."

Like snowflakes, no two high-profile slaps are alike, but there are more than a few parallels. Here are five similarities between Will Smith's and CJ Giménez's slaps.

They Aimed for the Face

One thing is for sure: Hands were thrown and faces were slapped during both incidents. It appears that neither Giménez nor Smith opted for the backhand and instead went for the good ol' open-handed smack to the head à la the popular Batman and Robin meme. Both victims also appear to have been surprised by the sudden attacks.

Whereas Smith slapped Rock as they were face to face, Giménez reportedly approached Díaz de la Portilla from the rear. In a Spanish-language statement following the incident in Miami, Díaz de la Portilla called Giménez "cowardly" and asserted that "real men do it from the front, and not from behind."

They Took Place in Public at Formal Venues

Not only did both slaps go down in public with plenty of witnesses, but both venues were filled with affluent folks dressed to the nines.

Giménez reportedly slapped Díaz de la Portilla outside Morton's the Steakhouse, a fancy restaurant in downtown Coral Gables outfitted with white linen tablecloths, ornate chandeliers, and a strict dress code. Smith's slap took place onstage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles in front of a massive audience of celebrities in tuxedos and elaborate gowns and was broadcast live around the globe.

They Were Accompanied by Strong Words

What's a true scuffle without some swearing and strong language?

According to a Coral Gables Police Department arrest report, Giménez said, "Hey pussy, do you remember me?" before striking Díaz de la Portilla on the side of the head. After Rock made a joke comparing Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, to G.I Jane, Smith slapped Rock and then walked back to his seat and shouted, "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth!"

They Dominated the Media

Since Sunday night, Smith's slap has dominated the news cycle, and "#WillandChris" is still trending on Twitter. The discourse surrounding the slap is moving fast — journalists are pumping out stories about the incident at a rapid clip, hot takes are being dropped on social media faster than we can read, and even QAnon conspiracy theorists have chimed in to call the incident a "false flag event."

Giménez's slap left a smaller wake, in that the story was the talk at local water coolers and office breakrooms around Miami-Dade for days, reported on by New Times, the Miami Herald, the New York Times, and other major outlets across the nation.

However, QAnon has yet to chime in on the incident.
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca