Will Smith Hits Chris Rock For Joke About Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars
Actor Will Smith shocked audiences attending and watching the 94th Academy Awards ceremony when he walked up on stage and struck comedian and presenter Chris Rock in the face following a joke aimed at Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Prior the incident, Rock called out Pinkett Smith and said, "Jada, I love you-- G.I Jane 2, can't wait to see it." It was a joke aimed at Pinkett Smith's case of alopecia, which led her to shave a her head. While the Smith initially appeared to laugh at the quip, Pinkett Smith appeared visibly annoyed. Several moments later, Smith was shown approaching Rock on stage and hitting him.
Rock responded, "Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me." Smith could be heard yelling, "Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth," repeatedly. Rock said, "Wow, dude. It was a G.I Jane joke," before conceding, "I'm going to, okay?" The Oscars host concluded by adding, "That was... greatest night in the history of television." It was reported that Rock does not have any intention of pressing charges against the actor.
Later on in the night, Smith received his first Oscar for his role in King Richard. In his acceptance speech, which he gave in tears, Smith stated, "I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people." He continued, "I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse and have people talk people about you. In this business, you gotta have people disrespecting you. And you gotta smile and pretend that's ok." He went on to offer an apology to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, stating, added that he hopes he is welcomed back by the Academy.
The incident has prompted responses from a number of celebrities. While some support Smith's actions, many condemn the use of violence as a response to Rock's joke. On social media, actor Mark Hamill described it as the ugliest Oscar moment.
Pinkett Smith has previously discussed her struggle with alopecia, a condition defined by loss of hair from the body. She revealed her diagnosed in 2018 and recalled losing clumps of hair in the shower. She said, "It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear... That's why I cut my hair and continued to cut it." At the time, it was unknown what the cause of her condition was, though she suspected that it was stress.