It was Tinseltown’s biggest night last night, and all the stars were out at the Dolby Theater. And in one very specific case, one of Hollywood’s brightest stars ended up seeing stars themselves – literally. Chris Rock, who was on hand to present the award for Best Documentary Feature, found himself delivering a little monologue that ended with Chris getting slapped the fuck up on stage by Will Smith, a man who certainly didn’t appreciate the extremely-timely G.I. Jane joke directed at his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. And just like that, Will Smith made it to the number-one spot of every “10 Craziest Oscar Moments Ever” list from now until the end of time (or at least until someone else gets their shit rocked on stage at the Oscars). And the LAPD says that they’re aware of what went down and Chris Rock declined to file a police report.
Jokes about Will and Jada’s marriage have been around forever, and ever since Will and Jada brought their “entanglement” to the Red Table so many months ago, that particular subject has been a frequent topic for various talk shows and red carpets. Often, Will and Jada will laugh off any lighthearted mention of their sometimes complicated marriage. But the laughter was few and far between last night when Chris Rock decided to make a joke specifically directed at Jada, and not even the standard joke about having a semi-open marriage. Chris made a joke about Jada’s shaved head, saying he couldn’t wait to see “G.I. Jane 2,” which elicited about as much enthusiasm as you might expect a G.I. Jane joke made in 2022 would elicit. That would be a reach at best if Jada had shaved her head in the name of being a die-hard Demi Moore fan, but Jada revealed last year that she took her hair down to the scalp, as a way to deal with alopecia.
But Chris Rock, or whichever comedian sitting in the 2022 Oscars writing room, decided Jada’s bald head was the perfect punchline. Again, quite the choice coming from the same guy who literally made a whole documentary about the relationship between Black women and their hair. As it turns out, Chris Rock was the one in the line of punches. Or rather, a very aggressive slap. After Chris made his joke and the camera cut to a not-amused Jada, Will could be seen walking toward Chris on stage. At first, Chris thought it was a joke, but those laughs quickly turned to expressed shock after Will’s right palm made contact at full speed with Chris’s jaw. Play the Everybody Hates Chris theme!
Will Smith just punched Chris Rock and told him "keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth" pic.twitter.com/1f1ytdbMRv
— CJ Fogler (@cjzer0) March 28, 2022
So much of what Chris and Will said was silenced by the production booth (not surprising, since ABC isn’t exactly the go-to network for hearing a man tell another man to “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth” not once, but twice). TMZ was able to fill in the gaps, and they write that Chris Rock responded by telling the audience, “Will Smith just smacked the shit outta me.” Will directed Chris to refrain from speaking about Jada, and Chris decided to move on after an extremely tense 40 seconds, saying that what had just happened was “the greatest night in the history of television.” After the Best Documentary Feature award was given out, and the show cut to commercial, Will was met by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who spoke with Will and attempted to calm him down.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
According to Variety, Chris Rock has declined the chance to file a police report against Will Smith. So this moment lives and dies at the 2022 Oscars.
This situation is made all the more ironic when you remember that Will and Jada boycotted the 2016 Oscars, which just so happened to be hosted by Chris Rock. Chris is probably wishing Will’s hands decided to boycott last night’s ceremony too. But that sure as hell wasn’t going to happen, since Will needed his hands to accept the award for Best Actor, for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. Which he did, to the tune of a very awkward acceptance speech that was focused on protecting one’s family. He also apologized to the Academy for what went down prior to his win.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 28, 2022
I know the Academy has been desperate for ratings and surely Mr. Oscar was hyperventilating at the thought of how high the ratings would be after Will’s slap. But according to the Academy themselves, their official position on things is that they aren’t celebrating Will’s act of slippery.
The Academy 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.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
The LAPD said that Chris didn’t file a police report but he can in the future if he wants to, via CNN:
“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.”
Many on Twitter have pointed out the abject bullshit in that statement, considering the Academy has in the past celebrated a convicted child rapist, hasn’t exactly denounced another alleged pedo, and given their highest acting award to a man accused of getting violent with Madonna. So essentially, they just don’t want anyone to bring that shit to the show.
Will Smith spoke about Denzel in his acceptance speech, saying that Denzel warned Will: “At your highest moment, be careful – that’s when the devil comes for you.” But Will didn’t say what Tyler Perry told him. But I want to believe Tyler was asking Will for permission to use all of what he had just witnessed. “Will, I’m thinking of making a new TV drama about rich people with that signature Tyler Perry flair. Please let me use this storyline in the pilot. I’ll even hire you on as a slap consultant!”