By Leonie Husselbee, Showbiz Editor | 28th March 2022
Chris Rock was surprised on stage at the Oscars when Will Smith slapped him across the face after he was offended by a joke Rock told about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock made a joke on stage referring to Jada Pinkett Smith saying: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”. This was directed at Jada’s shaved head which is a result of her condition, alopecia that causes hair loss.
The joke made reference to the 1997 film GI Jane in which Demi Moore, the main role had a severe buzzcut.
Jada was seen to roll her eyes at Rock’s comment, whilst Smith initially laughed and clapped his hands before being seen making his way on stage.
Will Smith got out of his seat and made his way to the Oscars stage and proceeded to slap Rock across the face. He returned to his seat and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your [expletive] mouth.”
Chris Rock looked stunned after the incident before looking to the audience and saying: “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
Smith later apologised on stage, whilst receiving his Oscar for best actor saying: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees”.
Rock “declined to file a police report” about the event, Variety was told by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The reaction to the incident was mixed with Tiffany Handish, actress and comedian defending Smith saying he was standing up for his wife.
Smith’s son Jaden took to Twitter and wrote: “And that’s how we do it.”
However, filmmaker David Handish telling his sons with Elton John “don’t hit anybody…under any circumstance”.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill called it “the ugliest Oscar moment ever” and added: “Stand up comedians are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assualt… not much.”