Before we bid farewell to the rollercoaster of a ride that is 2022, we believe it’s time to reminisce about all the cultural resets that happened this year. From the highly-televised Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard trial to American YouTuber Dream’s controversial face reveal, here are ten of the biggest news events that gripped 2022:
It would have been hard to kickstart this nostalgic summary of the past year without starting it with one of the most talked about moments of 2022: slapgate. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the nickname the viral incident received as soon as it aired, we’re talking about when Will Smith slapped comedian (and friend) Chris Rock in the middle of the 94th Academy Awards ceremony.
Smith, who actually ended up winning an award that evening, lost his temper and stormed the stage live on air after Rock made a distasteful joke at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
The incident sparked intense controversy online as netizens discussed the many elements that led up to it—from Rock’s joke about Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia and Smith’s violent handling of the situation to his ten-year ban from the Oscars.
January 2022 blessed—or cursed—us with the release of the second instalment of Sam Levinson’s acclaimed teen drama TV series, Euphoria. Fans of the show’s first 2019 season and newcomers alike became hooked on their weekly fix of everything drugs, sex, trauma, and social media.
Among other iconic moments, we witnessed the feud between Cassie Howard (played by Sydney Sweeney) and Maddy Perez (portrayed by Alexa Demie) over the highly problematic but oh-so-hot Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi) unravel.
Zendaya also topped the show’s impressive cast as the troubled Rue Bennett—a performance which won her an Emmy Award for best actress in a drama series.
Euphoria’s second season also came loaded with a double whammy of character development when it came to Fezco (played by Angus Cloud) and Lexie Howard (played by Maude Apatow) and their unexpected and slow-burning love story.
Although the show first went viral for being drama-packed and highly relatable to its key audience, aka us gen Zers, it was season two’s brutal but honest depiction of what being a teenager really comes down to that cut through the noise.
We now have an eager wait ahead of us before Euphoria’s third season, which is scheduled to be released in 2024, hypnotises us all one more time.
On 31 July 2022, England’s women’s national football team—affectionately referred to as the Lionesses—officially brought it home and were crowned the UEFA Women’s Euro champions. The match, which took place at Wembley Stadium, was watched by approximately 365 million viewers, making it the most popular broadcast women’s Euro game of all time.
The Lionesses’ summer success marked a long-overdue shift in societal perceptions of female football. According to UEFA.com, 416,000 new sporting opportunities have been kickstarted in schools and local clubs across England in attempts to tackle a previous lack of resources for young girls who had an interest in pursuing football—both casually and at the professional level
These new accessible activities and schemes will range from playing to coaching, officiating, and volunteering. There has also been an 84 per cent increase of spectators who’ve stated that the 2022 Women’s Euros improved their perception of women’s football, and moreover, 88 per cent of spectators stated that they’re likely to watch women’s footballing events in the future.
Each year, we’re gifted with an entire month where we celebrate Pride—an event dedicated solely to uplifting, applauding, and commemorating the LGBTQIA+ community—and 2022 marked its 50th birthday.
This is a heartwarming tribute to and from the community as many members have endured years of homophobic bullying. According to Stonewall UK, 64 per cent of LGBTQIA+ people have experienced violence or abuse. Out of these cases, 92 per cent was verbal, 29 per cent experienced physical abuse, and 17 per cent experienced sexual violence.
Brighton Pride—often considered one the UK’s most significant LGBTQIA+ celebrations—attracted approximately 300,00 supporters this year, all of whom gathered together at the parade to pay tribute to the increasingly important communities and organisations that support queer individuals, as reported by The Guardian.
The multiverse movie concept is an enjoyable albeit confusing high octane trend that’s gripped audiences since the late 2000s. This year, we got to witness even more of its intergalactic charm. Of course, I have to give an honourable mention to Spider-Man: No Way Home, which kickstarted this trend in December 2021.
In 2022, we were blessed with motion picture gold with movies such as Everything Everywhere All at Once as well as the sequel to Doctor Strange, dubbed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
As expected, audiences went into an absolute frenzy. Who doesn’t love to see all their favourite superheroes or, in some cases, villains meet, right? The multiverse creates the drama we all crave and need, it leaves fans shocked from start to finish, and pushes the audience’s mind to visualise the unthinkable.
2022 will not be the last for the multiverse world either, with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as well as DC’s The Flash all scheduled to be released next year.
While some British men choose to wear cargo shorts all year round, others tend to stuff their summer attire in the back of the wardrobe—allowing it to collect dust as the rain wreaks havoc outside. However, in a remarkable twist of events, the UK experienced a whopper of a summer in 2022. The streets of London were filled with burnt knees, sticky sandals, and wet hair as temperatures climbed up to over 40 degrees.
While the main reason why the UK hit record-breaking temperatures can be traced back to our planet’s bouts with global warming, others took the tropical weather as an ultimate blessing. As some rushed to beaches to soak up the sun and catch a tan in parks across the country, others retreated to pubs in true British fashion. That being said, 2022 also recorded the estimated deaths of 3,200 people, who passed away due to the unbearable heat.
In July 2022, after an unsurprisingly disappointing and dreary two years, Boris Johnson officially resigned as the 55th Prime Minister of the UK. It was revealed that Boris and other members of the Conservative Party attended a series of secret parties and other gatherings over the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns—in a scandal that is otherwise known as partygate.
The UK public was infuriated by the news as, ironically, the parties took place after Boris himself set strict pandemic restrictions stating no parties or household mixing would be allowed to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 cases.
Many felt betrayed, deceived, and confused by the former prime minister and the government as they went without seeing loved ones by trying to stick to official guidelines.
After being put under heavy scrutiny, and five other staff members from downing street resigning, he was left with no choice but to resign. Lizz Truss was then elected as the 56th prime minister of the UK but only managed to last 66 days before resigning herself.
On 8 September, it was sadly announced that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away at her home in Balmoral at the age of 96—ending a reign of 70 years and 214 days, the longest of any British monarch and the longest verified reign of any female monarch in history.
The nation had only just celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, making the news more shocking to many.
The sad loss, in turn, birthed a new era as the UK became ruled by a King for the first time since 1952. King Charles, alongside Queen Consort Camilla, has now taken over his mother’s royal duties while the Prince of Wales, William, became the new heir to the throne. Rest in peace, Lizzy.
Starting April 2022, the entire world witnessed the six-week, drama-filled trial between Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard culminate into a worrying witch hunt against the latter. Though the highly-televised trial was held in Virginia, its most intense debates were fought online as Depp fans flooded social media apps such as TikTok and Twitter with hateful and often unfounded abuse aimed at the Aquaman actress.
Depp was granted $15 million in damages, including $5 million in punitive damages. Meanwhile, Heard was also awarded $2 million following findings that Depp’s former lawyer had defamed her.
Regardless of this official verdict, spectators spun their own stories before the jurors. Heard was rendered a villain and Depp, the angel—which is far from the truth. Every move the actress made was analysed and picked apart, and suddenly everyone was a psychologist and body language expert. There was actually some pretty damning evidence towards Depp after losing his UK libel case, where the judge found that 12 out of 14 alleged incidents of abuse were “substantially true.” Did we just put Depp on a pedestal that he did not deserve to be on?
American YouTuber and Twitch streamer Dream (real name ‘Clay’)—who is known primarily for creating Minecraft content since starting his online career in 2014—broke the internet on 2 October 2022 when he decided to reveal his identity, which he had kept hidden from his whopping 30 million followers.
The popular creator ended his anonymity while on a livestream with 1.3 million viewers and the recorded moment has now accumulated over 48 million views. He has also explained the main reason behind this surprising move: his friend GeorgeNotFound was flying out to meet him for the first time and Dream didn’t want to hide away. Instead, his goal was to “just get out into the world, be an actual creator—to be a person.”
Every time the Oscars roll around, there seems to be endless scandal after endless scandal but let’s be honest—this year definitely takes the cake. Following an incredibly distasteful joke made by comedian and host Chris Rock at the expense of Jada Pinkett-Smith, Oscar nominee Will Smith proceeded to storm the stage and slap the presenter live on air. He then went on to yell, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth” from his seat. The so-called ‘joke’ was, in fact, a cheap shot at Pinkett-Smith’s bald head—a result of her medical condition, alopecia.
The moment, of course, took the internet by storm—with many celebrating Smith’s defence of his wife. Here are some of the best memes and reactions to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Oscars:
We know for a fact this moment is going to end up on one of those random videos you watch on YouTube at 3 am and it’ll probably be titled ‘12 most shocking award show moments’—safe to say this year might definitely take the top spot.
Got to love a No Way Home meme with our favourite Spider-Man.
View this post on Instagram
Forget Marvel, we love any reference we can get when it comes to Encanto’s the Madrigal family.
Nothing beats this José Mourinho meme classic.
Uhh, does Drake even write his own music anymore?
Chris Rock was too stunned to speak.
This is officially an Andrew Garfield stan page as this sneaky moment of him on his phone has the internet obsessed. In fact, this snap of him alone (post-slapdown) became the meme of the night. Was the social media recluse secretly stalking the feeds for some comedy commentary on the drama? We’re hedging our bets that he’s as messy as we are.
The switch-up between his laughter and slap is exactly why Will Smith deserved his Oscar.
Nothing hits the spot like an empath TikTok joke. If you know you know… If you don’t, well, you’re clearly not on the right side of the app.
Are you starting to get annoyed yet? Well, buckle up, you’re in for a few more.
View this post on Instagram
We’re not going to see Queen B for a while now, are we? This is why she doesn’t leave the house.
View this post on Instagram
We’re halfway there so let’s take a small break now. Among the saturation of commentary online about the slap of the century, there are many who woke up this morning without a scooby about what went down—nor did they care. To be fair, they probably are in the right, seeing as how those who are typically obsessed with celebrities are reportedly less intelligent—doesn’t bode well for us now, does it?
Looks like Euphoria Sundays are here to stay with the messiness of last night… Will ran onto that stage to slap the fuck out of Cassie—sorry, Chris.
Just living through historical moments everyday, no big deal.
Nobody wants to hear any hot-takes about Will Smith’s ‘display of violence’ at the show, not when predators, abusers and accused rapists have a plethora of shiny gold trophies to go around—I mean hello? Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Casey Affleck and not to mention the accusations resurfacing around Jared Leto who won an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. There are no calls to strip them of their Oscars but then again, they have one thing in common… they’re white.
This adorable grandmother is living for Smith’s defence of his wife.
Another one for the people who don’t care, we see you and we respect you.
After last night, it looks like Rock’s going to lay low for a while…
This. This right here is the best joke I’ve seen all day and if you’re a Wendy Williams fan then you’ll agree—her hilarious and controversial commentary on everything celebrity has been sorely missed. Williams, who has been dealing with a plethora of serious health issues, has taken a break from her hosting duties but has vowed to return despite her show’s cancellation. And if she were on air, she would have most definitely, in her classic walking-meme-way, said ‘clap if you would have slapped him’. I can almost hear it.
We can’t say no to another Marvel reference.
Samuel L. Jackson must know some shit…
View this post on Instagram
We couldn’t help ourselves but include a reaction from the man himself after all the drama. Safe to say, they’re leaning into it. Now we just have to stay tuned for Red Table Talk, obviously.