During Sunday evening’s 94th Academy Awards, Will Smith served Chris Rock an open palm slap in the face after the latter made a joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
As Rock was on stage presenting the award for the past year’s best documentary feature, the comedian made a joke at the expense of Jada’s appearance and shaved head, in which he mentioned looking forward to seeing her in G.I. Jane 2.
Footage captured Will laughing at the wisecrack at first, but Jada clearly didn’t find the snub funny and rolled her eyes at Chris’ joke. As MADAMENOIRE has reported in past coverage, Jada’s been open in recent years about her struggle with alopecia.
Will walked up to Chris on stage and hit the comedian with a serious slap only moments after the joke landed.
Some Oscars attendees seemed to think the incident was a comedy routine, while others remained stunned.
After returning to his seat back in the crowd, Will repeatedly yelled at Chris: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth!”
Diddy was the next presenter to take the Oscars stage later on the telecast. The music mogul made an effort to smooth things over by addressing the on-air altercation and saying, Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this like family. Right now we’re moving on with love. Everybody make some noise.”
Will indirectly addressed the incident later that evening during his best actor acceptance speech for his performance in King Richard.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world,” Will said at the beginning of his emotional speech.
After noting how he projected his co-stars Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton through his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, Will tearfully said, “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, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of ‘King Richard,’ Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family. Art imitates life,” the actor said. “I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
Will also mentioned in his speech that when Denzel Washington came to talk to him shortly following the incident with Chris, The Tragedy of Macbeth star told him, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
As of this reporting, Chris Rock declined to file a police report with the Los Angeles Police Department about the incident that went down between him and Will, according to the Los Angeles Times. See how Twitter reacted to the altercation down below.
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