In the wake of the now-infamous "slap heard around the world," a video clip of actor Will Smith making a bald joke during an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" in 1991 has resurfaced.
Even before winning the Academy Award for best actor, Smith had already made headlines by marching onstage to smack comedian Chris Rock across the face for making a joke about his wife's hair loss.
Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, suffers from alopecia, a condition defined by the Mayo Clinic as "hair loss (that) can affect just your scalp or your entire body." This includes, among others, androgenic alopecia (male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness), frontal fibrosing alopecia (a receding hairline), and alopecia areata, which is immune system-related and causes patchy hair loss.
Following Smith's unhinged reaction to Rock's joke at the Oscars, a video resurfaced on social media of Smith making a "bald joke" about Arsenio Hall’s bassist, John B. Williams, during a 1991 appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show."
The so called "fact-checkers" on Snopes were quick to jump to Smith's defense with an article that seriously attempted to say Smith isn't a bald-joke hypocrite because Williams, though clearly bald, does not necessarily suffer from alopecia.
Never mind that the vast majority of Twitter posts on the topic said nothing about "alopecia"; Snopes dug up "one viral version of this video" (Snopes' own words, not ours) that was captioned, "Now this is a video of Will Smith saying a joke about someone with alopecia" to make the case.
"While this clip is real, there’s no evidence that Smith’s joke was directed at someone with alopecia," wrote Snopes.
"While Smith did make a bald joke during this appearance, there’s no evidence that Williams, like Pinkett Smith, has alopecia. We looked over Williams’ bio on his website, profiles of the artist, and several interviews, and found no mention of Williams having alopecia. It appears that this claim was made up out of whole cloth in order to increase the video’s virality by making Smith’s actions appear especially hypocritical," the article added.
Many people on Twitter felt that Snopes may have entirely missed the point: