Entertainment

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars; The Internet Reacts

Will Smith secured a Best Actor trophy at Sunday night’s Academy Awards – but it was another onstage moment that everyone is talking about.

Presenting Best Documentary, comedian Chris Rock teased married nominees Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz before setting his sights on Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. He made a joke about Pinkett Smith (who suffers from alopecia and was sporting a shaved head) starring in G.I. Jane 2. Though Smith was initially seen laughing at the joke, he abruptly strode onstage and slapped Rock.

“Wow. Wow. Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” said a visibly stunned Rock.

“Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth,” Smith could be heard shouting back.

“Wow, dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke,” Rock responded, and Smith repeated the warning.

The sound was cut on the ABC feed, but other countries ran the segment unedited.

Behind the scenes footage showed Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry comforting Smith during the commercial break.

Minutes later, Smith took the stage again to accept the Best Actor award for his performance as Serena and Venus Williams’ father in King Richard. Visibly emotional, Smith addressed the incident in his speech, saying, “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.”

He added, “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”

Smith apologized to the Academy, but did not address Rock. He said, “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 crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.”

Before leaving the stage, Smith added, “Thank you. I hope the Academy invites me back.”

The reaction on Twitter was immediate, with many viewers commenting that Rock’s joke was in poor taste, and/or shocked by Smith’s response.




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