People, including celebrities, have reacted with shock after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars. Comedian 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 hair loss, which is due to 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.”
Smith later apologized during his best actor acceptance speech, but not to Rock, saying: “Love will make you do crazy things”. The actor said Denzel Washington also told him after the incident: “At your highest, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
“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, we’ve gotta be able to take abuse,” Smith said. “You’ve gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. You’ve gotta smile and pretend that that’s okay.”
Smith won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Richard Williams in “King Richard”. It was his first Oscar.
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 probably since 2017, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced “La La Land” as the best picture winner, when it was supposed to be “Moonlight”.
The Academy Awards ratings have been going down for years now due to several factors including Covid-19. The 2021 Oscars brought in about only 10.4 million total viewers, down 56 percent from the previous ceremony. This year’s ceremony also came with its own controversies and perhaps the Academy could do with a viral moment. It did get one but surely not the one it wanted.
After the jaw-dropping moment, the Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form”.
“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.”
Whether Rock knew Jada had alopecia or not, his joke was stupid, many said while calling out Smith’s shocking attack. Actress Jodie Turner-Smith wrote: “And as far as that incident goes… . . i am still processing.” “I have second hand embarrassment for all involved.”
TV presenter Stephen A Smith wrote: “@willsmith seriously did that — and he wins the OSCAR — he just stained the greatest moment of his career. You cannot do that S$&@!!Especially as a BLACK MAN, in that position, to ANOTHER BLACK MAN (@chrisrock) on THAT STAGE. If this was not a joke, Will won’t live this down!!!”
He later tweeted: “I just saw the RAW footage. @willsmith should be ashamed of his damn self. It was a GI Jane joke.”
Comedian Kathy Griffin wrote: “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”
Piers Morgan described it as the “ugliest moment” in Oscar’s history, tweeting: “It was real. Just seen the uncensored footage. Will Smith hit Chris Rock for cracking a GI Jane joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith (who suffers from alopecia) – then twice screamed ‘keep my wife’s name out of your fing mouth’ at him.”
“B!tch don’t you ever play with me. LOL,” rapper 50 Cent captioned a screenshot of the incident.
Smith will not be facing any charges over the incident. The Los Angeles Police Department said that Rock isn’t pursuing the matter.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the police department said in a statement. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.”