Eddie Murphy referenced the slap of the year in his acceptance speech at the 80th annual Golden Globes ceremony Tuesday night.

The comedian was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which recognizes “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” He began by thanking his girlfriend and his ten children. At the end of his speech, Murphy gave a word of advice to “all the new up-and-coming dreamers and artists” out there.


“I want to let you know that there is a definitive blueprint that you can follow to achieve success, prosperity, longevity and peace of mind,” he said. “It’s a blueprint and I’ve followed it my whole career.”

The audience listened intently, waiting for a serious, weighty piece of advice from the Hollywood icon. He continued: “it’s three things.”

“Pay your taxes, mind your business,” he said. “And keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out your f—king mouth!”

Attendees erupted in laughter and the clip went viral instantly.

Murphy was referencing the infamous slap at last year’s Oscars ceremony when Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Smith then shouted from his seat, “keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth,” before getting onstage and slapping his fellow comedian.

Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggle with hair loss as she has suffered from alopecia since her diagnosis in 2018. She debuted a buzzcut in July 2021, prompting Rock’s subsequent joke comparing her to G.I. Jane.

In the aftermath of the slap, Smith addressed it repeatedly and apologized to Rock in a video, but it didn’t end there.

The internet was immediately full of think-pieces about the incident, dissecting its meaning and debating its implications. It was used as a catalyst for discussions of race, domestic abuse, toxic masculinity, free speech, the Academy and the future of comedy. Many of the nation’s most esteemed opinion writers chimed in along with social media users around the world.

“There is a strange idea that there is nobility in tolerating or, better yet, enjoying humor that attacks who you are, what you do or how you look – that with free speech comes the obligation to turn the other cheek, rise above, laugh it all off,” Roxane Gay wrote about the incident last March. “We often see this when comedians want to joke about race, sexual assault, gender violence or other issues that people experiencing them don’t find terribly funny. If you can’t laugh along, you are humorless. You’re thin-skinned. You’re a problem.”

Murphy has been mostly praised for his lighthearted reference to the slap heard ‘round the world. This is not the first time he’s said something controversial at an awards show.

The 61-year-old was a presenter at the 1988 Academy Awards, where he revealed he didn’t want to accept the role initially. In his monologue, he talked about explaining to his manager why he didn’t want to present for the Academy.

“I’ll probably never win an Oscar for saying this but I gotta say it,” he said. “Actually I might not be in any trouble because the way it’s been going it’s about every 20 years (black people) get one so we aren’t due ‘til about 2004.”

He continued, “Black people will not ride the caboose of society and we will not bring up the rear anymore, and I want you to recognize it.”

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