Today’s Headlines: Investigation is launched over Will Smith’s Oscars slap

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Tuesday, March 29, and for many of us Monday was a day for processing what was perhaps the Oscars’ ugliest moment. It could help if we focus on what got booted from the spotlight by the slap heard ‘round the world: an amazing win and speech by Questlove. Our colleague Justin Chang wrote about one of the evening’s most beautiful speeches: “This is such a stunning moment for me, right now,” said Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. “This is not about me. This is about marginalized people in Harlem that needed to heal from pain.” A little healing would be good all around about now.

Now on to the latest Oscar updates and everything else you shouldn’t miss today:


Will Smith’s Oscars slap is condemned by the film academy

Following the stunning altercation at the Oscars, in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, the motion picture academy announced it was conducting a formal review of Smith’s conduct.

Not long after striking Rock, Smith received cheers from many in the Dolby Theatre when he won the lead actor Oscar for “King Richard.” In his emotional speech, the actor apologized to the academy and to his fellow nominees and expressed his hope that the academy would “invite me back.”

Less than 24 hours after slapping the comedian, Smith apologized to Rock in a post on his Instagram account: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

More about the Oscars

  • With the slap, Will Smith tarnished a night of pride for Black Hollywood — and his legacy — writes The Times’ Greg Braxton.
  • The Oscars slap settles it, writes columnist Erika D. Smith: Black women’s hair, “a particular point of vulnerability even for those of us without alopecia, is not something to be mocked.”
  • Women made Oscar history, but it was a man who managed to hijack the headlines, writes culture columnist and critic Mary McNamara.

Trump probably committed felony obstruction, a U.S. judge says

Former President Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress when he tried to subvert the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal district court judge determined in a ruling that ordered California lawyer John Eastman to hand over emails to the congressional panel investigating the insurrection.

Eastman, who advised Trump on efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has been fighting to prevent the committee from seeing the emails, claiming attorney-client privilege. Carter found that only 10 did not have to be turned over.

More politics

  • President Biden released a budget blueprint calling for higher taxes on the wealthy, lower federal deficits, more money for police and greater funding for education, public health and housing.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, a policy that has drawn intense national scrutiny.
  • Stop hounding Dianne Feinstein and let her finish her time in the Senate, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak. With the Senate’s vetting of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Feinstein has shown she isn’t the doddering, half-there husk of her old self that some suggest she’s become.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

Zelensky holds out the possibility of Ukrainian ‘neutrality’

Russian and Ukrainian officials began arriving in Turkey for a new round of talks as their countries battled well into a fifth week of war, with missiles raining down outside several cities.

In a video address ahead of the negotiations, to be held in person in Istanbul, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his nation was seeking peace “without delay” and “the restoration of normal life.”

He also said separately that he was willing to accept Ukrainian “neutrality,” one of Russia’s core demands. That would mean Ukraine letting go of aspirations to join NATO, even though the pursuit of membership is enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

More on Ukraine

It’s a ‘sad and scary time’ for LGBTQ students and their families

With the midterm elections looming, GOP leaders see stoking homophobic and anti-transgender sentiments as a way to help the party seize control of Congress in November. State lawmakers have proposed at least 238 discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ students, athletes and curricula in 2022.

Tenika Jackson, a clinical psychologist who counsels LGBTQ youth and their families, says America’s children deserve more than to watch public officials exploit a matter as delicate and personal as one’s identity.

Instead of helping the students who need support the most, she and other experts say, the bills under consideration and the debates they’ve sparked only add to the isolation and fear children cope with as they struggle to accept and love who they are.

Her sister is near death from COVID. Now, she dances to persuade Latinos to get the jab

Every week, Socorro Juarez takes to the streets of Santa Ana and shimmies to cumbia, quebradita or whatever loud music is on her old iPod. The 57-year-old wears a vaccination syringe ensemble fashioned from paper and plaster. She hands out fliers in English and Spanish with details on where and when to get COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters in Orange County.

Juarez is an unabashed foot soldier in a herculean effort to close the Latino COVID-19 vaccination gap in the state’s third-most populous county. In Orange County, only 49{a78e43caf781a4748142ac77894e52b42fd2247cba0219deedaee5032d61bfc9} of Latinos are fully vaccinated — the county’s least vaccinated ethnic group. It’s personal for Juarez. The coronavirus left her sister, Elena, with a damaged lung and heart. She now relies on an oxygen tank. In early February, Elena’s health began to deteriorate. Now, Juarez says she tries to do what she couldn’t do for her sister — persuade others to get fully vaccinated.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

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A man with an umbrella attempts to hop over a very large puddle.

When it finally rains in L.A., it pours. A man navigates a flooded intersection in downtown L.A. on Monday morning as rain fell on much of the Southland.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)


A storm system hit Southern California with rain, snow and messy roads. The California Highway Patrol reported street flooding in several areas. At least three cars got stuck in waterlogged roadways in valley areas north of Hollywood. Additional rain and mountain snow were expected through last night. Meanwhile, firefighters rescued a woman, a man and a dog from the rain-swollen L.A. River. The man had jumped into the water to try to save the dog. He was transported to a hospital with bite wounds, firefighters said. The woman didn’t require medical transport.

Patricia Guerrero was sworn in as the first Latina justice on the California Supreme Court. Guerrero, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, brings a “different perspective than has ever been offered on this court,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said before administering the oath of office.

The state served a warrant on a South L.A. oil drilling facility for an overdue site inspection. Neighbors complained for several years that the site emitted noxious fumes that gave them nosebleeds, headaches and respiratory problems such as asthma.

California is considering letting election workers hide their addresses. The Legislature advanced a bill that would add some election workers to the state’s “Safe at Home” program, which allows some people to keep their physical addresses secret.

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Democrats push toward a vote on Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court. Democrats can confirm her without one Republican vote in the 50-50 Senate, as long as every Democrat supports her. Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie.

The Supreme Court agrees to hear pork producers’ challenge to a California animal anti-cruelty law. The justices will review Prop. 12 and its provisions against animal cruelty, and decide whether out-of-state producers may be required to change their practices if they want to sell their products in California. The court’s action casts some doubt on the future of the measure.

The battle for the presidency of Brazil could rest on evangelicals. When President Jair Bolsonaro won power four years ago, his staunchest support came from the country’s evangelical Christian population, which rallied behind his promises to defend “traditional family values.” Now, with his approval ratings in steep decline, the far-right populist is again revving up the culture wars.

Honduras’ Supreme Court approves extraditing the nation’s ex-president. U.S. prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have accused President Juan Orlando Hernández in recent years of funding his political rise with profits from drug traffickers in exchange for protecting their shipments. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing.


CBS News has partnered with the Weather Channel for national coverage. The Weather Channel will provide on-air talent and reporting for the network’s morning and evening newscasts. The partnership will also give CBS News access to the Weather Channel’s team of well-known meteorologists.

Meet the real-life Sharmas of Regency London: The history behind “Bridgerton” Season 2. The second season is set in 1814, by which time there were deep economic and political ties between Britain and the Indian subcontinent. A number of South Asian women, like the Sharma sisters, circulated in London society during the Regency Era and were viewed as aristocratic.

Daryl Hall talks about the ups and downs of duo-dom, his secrets to aging well and hating Jann Wenner. On the eve of a new collection of solo material, Hall holds forth on everything from Joni Mitchell and Donald Trump to his possibly Oates-less future.


The huge Angels Landing project wins key city approval. The $1.6-billion hotel-housing-retail complex would change the city skyline. The developers said city planning officials approved their so-called entitlements to build, a major hurdle the project had to clear on the way toward completion before the 2028 Olympics.


Dodgers starters are building up faster than expected, even after the lockout delay. Once fearful of a patchwork pitching plan, the Dodgers are confident their pitchers will be built up close to normal despite condensed spring training.

Here are five questions facing UCLA football as the program heads into spring practice. The returns of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet provide some clarity, but UCLA has plenty of questions heading into spring practice. Such as: Can Bill McGovern, the new defensive coordinator, upgrade the defense?

“Time’s running out”: The Lakers have eight games to prove their postseason worthiness. After suffering a crushing loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in a fight for play-in seeding in the Western Conference — and as they waited to see if LeBron James was healthy enough to keep playing after suffering a nasty left ankle injury — the Lakers had indeed reached a crossroads. It was looking doubtful for both James and Anthony Davis to play in tonight’s game against Dallas. Meanwhile, Paul George may return to the Clippers lineup as soon as this week.

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Government emails are public records. Deleting them too quickly is not OK. The law is clear that state agencies must release records in their possession. But what’s not clear is how long they must hang onto those documents. This is critical, because the government can effectively hide records by destroying or deleting them before anyone asks for them.


UCLA announced an ambitious “Hip Hop Initiative” with Chuck D as artist in residence. The school has long forged paths in the scholarship of American music. Alumni of its famed school of music include Kamasi Washington, Randy Newman, Carol Burnett, John Fahey and La Monte Young, and its faculty has included Herbie Hancock, Kenny Burrell, Patrice Rushen and the late Barbara Morrison, among many others.

Now, touting itself as “the leading center for Hip Hop Studies globally,” a new initiative aims to amplify and multiply the conversation on hip-hop culture across artistic disciplines “by way of artist residencies, community engagement programs, a book series, lecture series, an oral history and digital archive project, postdoctoral fellowships and more,” according to the initiative’s announcement.


A newspaper clipping of a wrecked house. The headline reads "Tidal Wave Demolishes House."

Fifty-eight years ago this week, Crescent City in Northern California was struck by a tsunami following a magnitude 9.2 earthquake that hit Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Powerful tremors from the quake, which struck at 5:36 p.m. March 27, 1964, lasted for almost five minutes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and spurred destruction including massive landslides near downtown Anchorage and devastation to homes and businesses over about 30 blocks. More than 100 people died. The quake set off a series of tsunami waves “at the speed of a jetliner down the coast of the Pacific Northwest,” NPR reported in 2005. The greatest impact was at Crescent City.

Peggy Coons, a keeper at the city’s Battery Point Lighthouse, later wrote of the fourth and largest wave: “The water withdrew as if someone had pulled the plug. … We were looking down, as though from a high mountain, into a black abyss.” After the basin was “sucked dry,” she wrote, “the mammoth wall of water came barreling towards us. It was a terrifying mass, stretching up from the ocean floor.” Eleven people were killed; fuel tanks erupted; cars and trucks washed down city streets; the city’s business district was destroyed. An article in the March 29, 1964, Times called the town “a scene of twisted horror.”

NOAA wrote that “out of great catastrophe springs innovation and a new hope for the future of disaster preparedness.” In the quake’s aftermath, the agency created its national tsunami warning center, in Palmer, Alaska.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected].

Eleanore Beatty

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