Jada Pinkett Smith has disclosed that she initially believed her husband, Will Smith, slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars was a pre-planned skit.
In March 2022, Smith slapped Rock at the Oscars in reaction to a joke made by Rock about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith has openly spoken about her experience with alopecia, a condition that caused her hair loss.
Pinkett Smith explained that she initially believed the incident where Smith slapped Rock was a scripted skit. But, when Smith was returning to his seat, she realized it was far from what she had assumed, she told People.com.
After the incident, Pinkett Smith revealed that her first words to her husband when they were alone were, “Are you okay?” She indicated that she pledged her support for her husband, telling him that she would stand by his side while also giving him the space to navigate the situation on his own.
Smith has publicly apologized for the Oscars incident on several occasions. He initially apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during his acceptance speech for Best Actor on the same night. The following day, he issued an apology to Rock via Instagram.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” Smith said in the Instagram post. “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”
Following the controversy at the Oscars, Smith resigned from the Academy and subsequently received a 10-year ban from all AMPAS events. In an effort to make amends, Smith posted a six-minute video on his YouTube channel a few months later, offering a public apology to Rock. He mentioned attempting private contact with Rock, who had not yet agreed to a conversation.
Rock has since leveraged the Oscars incident, including the slap and the Smith family, into his stand-up comedy routines, using it as material for his performances.