Actor Will Smith stormed himself into the middle of what some consider the most scandalous moment in Oscars history Sunday when he physically confronted comedian Chris Rock over a poorly received joke, only to seemingly shrug off the incident later.
Smith’s emotional rollercoaster commenced at the 94th Academy Awards when Rock took the stage for the presentation for Best Documentary Feature. Practicing his trade, the comedian poked fun at the assembly of stars before turning his humor toward Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
“Jada, I love you,” Rock began simply enough before stating, “G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.”
Here's the moment Chris Rock made a "G.I. Jane 2" joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, prompting Will Smith to punch him and yell, "Leave my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth." #Oscars pic.twitter.com/kHTZXI6kuL
— Variety (@Variety) March 28, 2022
Will Smith can be seen laughing lightly at the reference to Jada’s hairstyle while his wife appears to cringe at the remark. As the cameras return to the stage, any interaction between the couple cannot be seen as Rock looks back at them and defends the joke stating, “That was a nice one.”
“Uh-oh,” is all Rock had to offer when Smith walked straight up to him and slapped him across the face for the remark before the offended actor returned to his seat and hurled profanities at the comedian.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth!” Smith shouted after Rock told the audience “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me.”
According to the Daily Mail, Jada has been openly struggling with a balding condition known as alopecia which made the reference to the Demi Moore military film more offensive than humorous to the Smiths.
Later in the evening, Smith was emotional when he accepted the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father to tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard.”
— Variety (@Variety) March 28, 2022
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” his acceptance speech began to mixed reactions as he called back to slapping Rock earlier. “In this time in my life, in this moment I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do.”
“I’m called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people,” Smith continued. He also issued an apology to the event and its participants, but not to Rock.
“I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” he tearfully offered. “This is a beautiful moment.”
When Smith left the stage, actors Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington could be seen speaking to Smith and reportedly consoling him.
Following the moment in which Will Smith seemingly slapped Chris Rock at the #Oscars, Smith is comforted by Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington. He appears to wipe away tears before rejoining his wife pic.twitter.com/TyXPQe1WGY
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 28, 2022
Washington offered sage advice that was perhaps meant to balance and realign Smith after his remark that he was doing “what God is calling on me to do.”
“At your highest moment, be careful,” Washington said. “That’s when the devil comes for you.”
Rock had previously made jokes about the Smiths at the 2016 Oscars where Will Smith had failed to garner a nomination for his performance in “Concussion.”
“Jada got mad, said she’s not coming,” Rock stated. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like my boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited. You get mad. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for ‘Wild Wild West.'”
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, no assault charges have been filed by Rock but they are prepared to conduct a full investigative report if requested.
The Los Angeles Police Department told @ABC News it is aware of the onstage altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but no police report has been filed. https://t.co/F827hXsWGm pic.twitter.com/ITvGPCmDhr
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
Later that night, Smith had appeared to put any negatives from the evening behind him as he was filmed at the Vanity Fair afterparty dancing and singing to some of his own songs with his Oscar in hand. When asked how he was doing, Smith responded, “It’s all love.”
— Rebecca Ford (@Beccamford) March 28, 2022
— Marc Malkin (@marcmalkin) March 28, 2022
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) March 28, 2022
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