In what may or may not have been the “greatest night in the history of television,” one major Hollywood actor and comedian beat up another major Hollywood actor and comedian during the live Oscars ceremony, and over a joke.
Will Smith Attacks Colleague Over a Joke
In a nutshell, presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
This led Will Smith to stride up on stage, smack Chris Rock, go back to his seat, and swear at Rock.
Then, minutes later, Smith went back up on stage to collect his Best Actor Award and give a gratitude speech without so much as being at least kicked out by security.
To top it all off, there are indications Smith may have been aware at the joke in advance; he didn’t protest against it Chris Rock making it during the rehearsal the day before.
The joke that “inspired” Will Smith to go up on stage and beat up Chris Rock concerned Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Will Smith’s 50-year-old wife has been diagnosed with alopecia since 2018 and battling hair loss.
Chris Rock joked on stage as he addressed Jada directly, saying she looks like like “GI Jane 2”.
While Will Smith could be seen at first laughing at the joke about his wife’s bald head, Pinkett Smith didn’t seem to like it, as she rolled her eyes.
Seconds later, as Rock was continuing his comedy rant on stage, he interrupted himself with an “Uh-oh!” as he saw Will Smith rapidly approaching.
Smith then slapped his comedian colleague across the face, and strode off back to his seat near the stage.
The seemingly dismayed Chris Rock took a couple of seconds to run his slapped cheek, putting on an embarrassed smile, uttered a “wow”, then adding Will Smith “just smacked the s—t out of [him]”.
Will Smith, however, then started yelling insults from his seat, telling Rock he ought to keep his wife’s name “out of” his “f—king mouth.”
The embarrassed Chris Rock replied he “will” do that. Then, he declared the disgusting incident made the Oscars awards ceremony “the greatest night” in television history.
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars on Sunday after the comedian made a "G.I. Jane" joke about Smith's wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Pinkett Smith, who has shaved her head, suffers from hair loss due to the autoimmune disease alopecia. https://t.co/3UHpznSgGL pic.twitter.com/CfZ5v3bWB5
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 28, 2022
— Movies (@moreoffilms) March 28, 2022
— LORRAKON (@LORRAKON) March 28, 2022
Will Smith Seems to Be Getting Away With It
The live-on-the-air smacking by Will Smith was seen clearly by TV audiences around the world. However, Oscar awards ceremony directors managed to mute his swearing, since the show is broadcast with a slight delay in the United States.
After the incident, Will Smith wasn’t even approached by security guards or police officers; he could only be seen talking to some other celebrities, such as Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington.
Smith sort-of apologized for assaulting Chris Rock earlier, with the argument “love” made him do it because it can make “you do crazy things”.
However, Smith’s half-hearted apology was directed towards the audience and the organizers of the Oscar awards ceremony, not Chris Rock.
The ludicrous, repulsive incident led many to question whether it may have been staged, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case.
According to Ramin Setoodeh, the executive director of Vanity Fair posting live Twitter updates from the ceremony, an employee of the Oscars told him the attack was real.
Smith didn’t interrupt Rock when the latter made the same joke during the ceremony rehearsal a day earlier.
Later, on Sunday night, the Los Angeles Police Department put out a statement, expressing willingness to investigate the incident if Chris Rock files a police report.
However, LAPD also made it clear Rock chose not to pursue legal action against Will Smith.
There are calls for stripping away Smith’s Best Actor award, but for the time being, it remains unclear whether the Academy will punish him in any way.
According to David Sillito, a BBC correspondent, journalists in the press area of the ceremony were told by organizers not to ask attendees questions about Smith’s assault against Rock.
"I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," Will Smith says in intense and lengthy remarks that occurred after he hit Chris Rock on the #Oscars stage.https://t.co/JE1kMbv54L#oscars pic.twitter.com/EjIfv9y5WH
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
Let’s be clear, the second this happened, Will Smith should been immediately removed from the theatre. You don’t let someone assault another human, go back to his seat, and then give him an award so he can preach about being a vessel of love. #oscars
— Randy Pryor (@RealRandyPryor) March 28, 2022
*will smith slaps Chris rock at the oscars*
*me texting all my friends to see if they seen it* pic.twitter.com/DTmEoXrR8i
— John Thomas (@LoLi5s) March 28, 2022
— New York Post (@nypost) March 28, 2022