Will Smith’s stunning slap of comic Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars instantly takes a prominent place on this list of stunning live television moments at the 2022 Oscars. Sunday night wasn’t the first time Chris Rock had joked about Jada Pinkett Smith, but it may have been his last.
Her husband, Will Smith, stormed on stage at the 94th Academy Awards after Rock joked “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it” and hit Rock in the face.
Actress Demi Moore famously shaved her head for her role in the film “G.I. Jane” and Pinkett Smith has a close haircut because she suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.
In 2016, Rock hosted the Oscars and joked about Pinkett Smith and her husband boycotting over #OscarsSoWhite, the online movement which began as a way to address the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards.
Rock declared that the Smiths, as well as Black director Spike Lee “went mad” over the issue as there were no Black acting nominees that year.
“Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” Rock said during his opening monologue. “I wasn’t invited.”
Rock went on to joke that he understood Pinkett Smith’s anger.
“Jada’s mad her man Will was not nominated for ‘Concussion.'” Rock said in reference to the 2015 football film Will Smith starred in. “I get it. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for [the 1999 film] ‘Wild Wild West.'”
Pinkett Smith commented on the jokes days later when asked about them by paparazzi.
“Hey look, it comes with the territory, we gotta keep it moving,” she said. “We got a lot of stuff we gotta handle, a lot of stuff going on in our world right now. We gotta keep it moving.”
E! reported that Smith, who was filming “Collateral Beauty” in New York City at the time, simply smiled and flashed a peace sign when asked.
Smith and Rock’s relationship goes back to the 1990s. Rock guest starred on Smith’s hit series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” where he played a character named Maurice and Maurice’s sister Jasmine.
In 2018 Smith posted a birthday tribute on his verified Instagram account to his ex-wife Sheree Zampino, who is the mother of his adult son Trey.
“Happy Bday, @shereezampino. #BestBabyMamaEver! 🙂 I Love You, Ree-Ree,” the caption read.
Rock left a comment saying, “Wow. You have a very understanding wife,” according to E! to which Zampino responded, “Don’t hate.”
On Sunday night, Smith apologized to his fellow nominees and the Academy while accepting his best actor award for “King Richard.”
Will Smith Oscars slap wasn’t the first time an unexpected moment on a live televised entertainment event left mouths agape. Here other notables:
JANET JACKSON’S SUPER BOWL SHOW
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were reaching the end of their “Rock Your Body” duet at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show when he yanked off her bustier, briefly revealing a bare breast with a sunburst nipple protector. The sheer scale of the event, with some 90 million people watching, made it a huge moment. Broadcaster CBS insisted it was as surprised as viewers at home, and it’s still murky today whose idea it was. The phrases “wardrobe malfunction” and “nipplegate” joined the lexicon in its wake, a crackdown on television “indecency” was launched, and Jackson’s career never fully recovered.
KANYE INTERRUPTS TAYLOR SWIFT
A 19-year-old Taylor Swift was thrilled to accept a “moon man” trophy at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when Kanye West stepped on her celebration. Appearing on the Radio City Music Hall stage, he took the microphone and said that while he was happy for Swift, “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.” He shrugged and handed the mic back to a clearly crestfallen Swift, left to stand alone as the crowd shrieked in shock. Bad blood between the music megastars lingered.
Chris Rock will not be pressing charges against Will Smith following their onstage altercation at this year’s Oscars, the Los Angeles Police Department has said.
Smith appeared to strike Rock at Sunday night’s ceremony after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head as he presented the Academy Award for best documentary.
When Rock quipped: “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” the camera cut to Pinkett Smith, who rolled her eyes. The “Red Table Talk” host has been open about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss.
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars on Sunday.
Following the joke, Smith walked onto the stage and seemingly hit Rock, before telling him to “leave my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”
“The Pursuit of Happyness” star appeared remorseful when he returned to the stage shortly after, to accept the Oscar for best actor for his role as Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, in the film “King Richard.”
During his emotional speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for the incident but did not mention Rock by name.
While Smith’s actions have been widely condemned on social media, with many arguing he should be charged with assault, his 23-year-old son, Jaden Smith, shared a tweet shortly after the incident, which said: “And That’s How We Do It.”
The LAPD confirmed on Monday that Rock declined to file a police report.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the department told CNN in a statement. “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.”
Chris Rock Wasn’t Wearing a Pad on His Cheek When Will Smith Slapped Him
Apps that promise to give users a better version of reality are helping create conspiracy theories. The internet is filled with conspiracy theories ranging from the absurd to the plausible. And plenty of people online have questioned whether Will Smith’s assault of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards on Sunday was staged. But there’s a new twist to this conspiracy theory that we can safely debunk: No, Chris Rock wasn’t wearing a pad on his cheek when Will Smith slapped him.
After plenty of bad takes on Twitter on Sunday night about whether Rock deserved to get slapped for telling a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, there was a sizeable portion of online shit-stirrers who started to insist the whole thing was staged.
Then, by Monday morning, the truly unhinged takes started, including a theory that not only was the slap staged, Rock was wearing a pad on his cheek to cushion the blow from Smith.