Chris Rock on Wednesday broke his silence and briefly addressed Sunday’s bizarre encounter at the Oscars where Will Smith walked up on stage and slapped him after the comedian passed a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
The slapping incident happened days before Rock, 57, was set to host six standup shows at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. And during the first show on Wednesday evening, the sold-out crowd welcomed the veteran comedian with a thundering standing ovation that lasted for almost two minutes, Variety reported.
After the applause died down, Rock immediately went to work. “How was your weekend?” he jokingly asked the crowd who subsequently burst into laughter. But Rock went ahead to state that he couldn’t really speak any further about the slap as he was still “processing” the incident.
“I don’t have a bunch of sh*t about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” he said. “I’m still kind of processing what happened.”
The 57-year-old, however, assured the audience he’ll eventually “talk about” the incident, adding that when he does, it “will be serious and funny.” And though a member in the audience also shouted “F*ck Will Smith!”, Rock did not respond.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s confrontation, ticket prices for Rock’s standup comedy tour soared as demand increased. The comedian will host multiple standup shows in Boston over the course of four days. His “Ego Death World Tour” also kicks off next month, and his first show will be in New Jersey, Variety reported.
Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday released another statement condemning Will Smith’s actions at Sunday’s Oscars. The organization also revealed the King Richard actor was asked to leave the ceremony but he refused.
And besides apologizing to Rock, the organization also announced it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Smith, adding that what happened on Sunday was a “deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television.”
Read the full statement below:
The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.
Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.
Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.
Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.
Chris Rock was on stage to present the award for Best Documentary Feature when he made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. The actress revealed she has alopecia.
Rock said, “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.” Smith walked up on stage and hit Rock before going back to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.”
Millions of people who watched the onstage slap during the Oscars Sunday night have described it as not only shocking but one of the craziest situations at the Oscars.