Lawyers Explain The Complicated Legal Reason Chris Rock Might Be Hesitant To Sue Will Smith - Exclusive

There has already been a ton of fallout from that time Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the face on stage at the Oscars (remember that!?). Smith got to keep his Oscar, but was forced to resign from the Academy and was banned from attending any Academy Awards either in person or virtually for ten years, according to Deadline. Smith has also made several public apologies to fans, to the Oscars audience, and to Rock himself. But it might not be over. Could Smith also be facing legal repercussions?

Some people have been considering the possibility that Rock could sue Smith personally for the slap. If Rock is going to get litigious about this, we have to wonder: What's taking so long? So we decided to take the question to experts: managing partner of the L.A.-based law firm, Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman, Rachel Fiset, as well as Christa Ramey of Ramey Law PC, a civil rights and trial attorney based out of Los Angeles. 

How can Chris Rock prove those damages?

So, if Chris Rock did try to sue Will Smith for damages, what might those be? "Rock would need to prove damages he suffered as a result of the slap. This would include any damages to his career such as money lost in various revenue streams resulting from the event and, more likely, any emotional distress damages he has endured," Rachel Fiset exclusively tells Elasq. If anything, it looks like Smith's career is the one that's in the most trouble.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have a case, though. "At present, it does not appear that [Rock's] career has taken a 'hit' but it is unknown as of yet whether he is suffering from emotional distress or any other psychological issue as a result — and that is where the money could get large," Fiset noted. But if you want an exact figure, Fiset says that's "hard to determine." Christa Ramey of Ramey Law PC, echoed this, telling Elasq, "In California, you don't sue for a specific dollar amount; you sue for damages according to proof, so there's no way to know what a jury might give him."

So, does Rock feel emotionally distressed by the slap? Well, all he's said about it so far is that he's "still processing what happened," per Reuters. And as Ramey aptly pointed out, things are not always what they appear. "Rock most certainly has damages despite his outward expression following the incident," she said. "What we saw does not tell us the full story of how he felt when Smith assaulted him and how he was harmed."