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2 Members of Congress Tweet, Then Delete, Support for Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

But the internet’s not written in pencil … it’s written in ink

Teachable moment: In the age of screenshots, don’t hot-take an explosive live TV dust-up until you know how sentiment will break. On Sunday night, sitting U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Jamaal Bowman found that out the awkward way.

After Will Smith’s slap heard ’round the world, Bowman tweeted: “Teachable moment: Don’t joke about a Black woman’s hair.” Sent before the telecast was over, the Democrat from New York soon deleted the tweet – which of course lives on eternally in .jpeg form.

Former Guardian and Daily Beast journalist Ben Jacobs captured the tweet before Bowman zapped it, later adding that he was “told” (source not disclosed) that Bowman’s “staff” thought at the time that the slap was merely a joke. (How a theoretically scripted fake feud could be leveraged as a culturally sensitive teachable moment was evidently not clarified by said staff.)

Bowman was joined in the chorus of two by Ayanna Pressley, who has good authority to speak on the appropriateness of Rock’s joke – the Democrat from Massachusetts herself has alopecia and, like Jada Pinkett Smith, proudly rocks a bald pate as a result.

“#Alopecia nation stand up! Thank you #WillSmith,” she wrote. “Shout out to all the husbands who defend their wives living with alopecia in the face of daily ignorance & insults.”

“Women with baldies are for real men only,” she added. “Boys need not apply.”

Before it was deleted, Pressley’s tweet was captured by Business Insider political reporter Grace Panetta, who also made note of a different Congressional take on the slap – this one from Bowman’s fellow New York Rep. Ritchie Torres, who so far hasn’t deleted it because it doesn’t condone a “violent assault” on live TV.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences offered its own assessment, tweeting “The Academy does not condone violence of [sic] any form,” shortly after allowing Smith to walk on stage, hard-slap a presenter of their show across the face, re-take his seat and later return to that stage to accept a Best Actor award.

Their tweet also stands:

Later in the night the Academy admonished journalists – who were interviewing winners of the Best Documentary prize (whose big moment was overshadowed by the attack) – for daring to ask those winners about the very violence that the Academy definitely does not condone.