Will Smith Smacks Chris Rock Over Jada Pinkett Smith Joke at the Oscars
Will Smith and Chris Rock shared a heated exchange at the 2022 Oscars stage over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith — and to the shock of viewers and audience members, it turned physical. Will later addressed the moment in his Best Actor acceptance speech.
Chris was presenting Best Documentary when he poked fun at Jada, saying he was looking forward to “G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to her shaved head.
Pinkett Smith immediately did not look pleased, and Will walked straight onstage and smacked Chris with his open hand.
As Smith walked back to his seat, a clearly shaken Rock said, “Oh, wow — Will Smith just smacked the s—t out of me.”
Rock insisted, “It was a ‘G.I. Jane’ joke,” and Will twice yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth.”
Rock told him, “I’m going to.”
Variety reports Rock has declined to press charges against Smith.
The LAPD told the magazine in a statement, "LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
The Academy also released a statement on Twitter, saying, "The Academy does not condone violence of any form."
The tweet continued, "Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world."
Perhaps unknown to Rock, Jada has opened up about struggling with alopecia. She previously wrote on Instagram “Now at this point, I can only laugh. As y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia. Just all of a sudden, one day… it just showed up like that. Now, this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all not asking any questions … Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… period.”
Rock went on to hand out the award for Best Documentary, but when Sean “Diddy” Combs took the stage soon after, he addressed the incident.
Diddy said, “Will and Chris we are going to solve that like family at the Gold party, but right now we are moving on with love.” As the camera panned to Will and Jada, they both laughed and smiled.
When Will won Best Actor for the role of Richard Williams in "King Richard," the emotional star addressed the dust-up.
Referring to the character he plays in "King Richard" — the father of Venus and Serena Williams — Smith said, "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."
He continued, "I’m being called on in my life to love people and protect people and be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, you have to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you have to have people disrespecting you and you have to smile and pretend like that is okay."
Will said after the incident, "Denzel [Washington] said to me, 'At your highest moment, be careful — that is when the devil comes for you.'"
Smith later added, "Art imitates life and I look like the crazy father… just like they said about Richard. Love will make you do crazy things."
Will apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, ending with, "I hope the Academy invites me back." He did not apologize to Rock immediately.
The argument between Will and Chris may have turned more heated because when Chris hosted the 2016 Oscars, he made a cutting joke about Jada amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
At the time, when many were protesting the show, Chris said onstage, “What happened this year? People went nuts. Spike [Lee] got mad. Jada went mad. Will went mad. Everyone went mad! Jada said she’s not coming. I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
He went on, “Her man Will was not nominated for ‘Concussion.’ I get it. You get mad. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for ‘Wild Wild West!’”