Four months after the slap seen around the world, Will Smith may be feeling the pain more than Chris Rock.
Data provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform from Q Scores, the longtime industry standard for quantifying celebrities’ star power and appeal, indicates Smith’s numbers tanked months after the March 27 Academy Awards ceremony, when the actor smacked presenter Chris Rock on live TV.
Before the incident, Smith consistently ranked among the country’s top 5 or 10 most positively rated actors in Q Scores’ semiannual surveys (fielded every January and July), which poll 1,800 U.S. consumers ages 6 and up. This placed him alongside such beloved figures as Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, according to Henry Schafer, executive VP of Q Scores.
But between Q Scores’ January survey, conducted before the Oscars, and its July polling, the first following the slap, Smith’s positive Q Score plummeted from a stellar 39 to 24, which Schafer characterized as “a very significant and precipitous decline.” (A positive Q Score of 24 means 24 percent of those surveyed who know of Smith count him as one of their favorite personalities.)
At the same time, Smith’s negative rating (those surveyed whose opinion of him was “fair” or “poor”) more than doubled, from less than 10 to 26. The average negative Q Score, according to Schafer, is about 16 or 17.
Nor was the fallout limited to one Smith: Jada Pinkett Smith, the actor’s wife, also saw significant damage to her public image in recent months. Her positive score, already low at 13, fell to 6, and her negative score jumped from 29 to 44.
In contrast, Rock saw no effect. Between January and July, his positive and negative scores remained at 20 and 14, respectively. However, his ranking on a separate Q Scores scale, one gauging a celebrity’s level of public awareness, leaped from 66 to 84.
Smith’s updated numbers, showing consumer sentiment months after the incident, confirm that one of Hollywood’s most likable performers has seriously damaged his reputation — and potentially his career — as a result of his Oscar outburst. More than four months later, the impact of the slap still lingers — a point unlikely to be missed by studios or marketers weighing future collaboration with Smith, whose once thriving career has been effectively put on hold since the assault.
Still, Smith’s decline is “not as bad as I’ve seen for other celebrities who have experienced antisocial events,” Schafer says, citing Tiger Woods’ 2009 infidelity scandal as an example. (Ironically, he adds, Johnny Depp emerged from recent allegations of domestic abuse and April-to-June defamation trial “unscathed,” with a positive score of 35.)
Smith’s updated score varied across demographic groups, with both women and non-Black…