HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after a joke he made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith at the 94th annual Academy Awards. Rock appeared on stage to present the award for Best Documentary Feature, but directed a joke involving Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith noted he was looking forward to her starring in “G.I. Jane 2” because of her bald head. Smith has documented her struggle with alopecia, via social media and her talk series Red Table Talk. Alopecia is a medical condition that results in patches of one’s hair falling out.
Will walked to the stage and delivered a slap to Rock’s face. Rock stated, “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me.”
Will responded by saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***** mouth.” “Wow, dude, it was a GI Jane joke,” Chris Rock replied. Smith repeated that sentiment a second time yelling “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***** mouth.” It led to audible gasps from the audience. Rock later announced Questlove as the winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Oscar.
Smith was announced as the winner of the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in “King Richard.”
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. I know, to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse. You gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and pretend like that’s OK. Denzel [Washington] said to me a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.’ I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith said during his acceptance speech.
Smith added, “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not winning an award for me; it’s about being able to shine a light on all the people.” He ended by stating, “I’m hoping the Academy invites me back. Thank you.
AMPAS did issue a statement via Twitter that read: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Award winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.” A formal review of the incident was announced by AMPAS on Monday, March 28.
Smith was later seen at the Vanity Fair party dancing and celebrating his victory. Rock has not released a statement or responded to the incident.
The Los Angeles Police Department were made aware of the incident, but noted that the party involved in the assault [Rock] has decided not to press charges against the actor.