In one of the most shocking scenes from this year’s Oscars, Best Actor winner Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about the King Richard star’s wife.
Gotham actress Jada Pinkett Smith was picked on by Rock, who was presenting an award at the ceremony on Sunday night, when he appeared to compare Pinkett Smith’s shaved head to the fictional action hero G.I. Jane.
“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” Rock said.
Pinkett Smith shaved her head last year when she announced she had been diagnosed with alopecia, a condition which causes hair loss.
The comment angered husband Smith, who walked up on stage to hit Rock in the face.
“Wow,” the Madagascar star said after the slap. “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.”
The cameras cut to Smith, who had returned to his seat, as he told the presenter: “Keep my wife’s name, out of your f***ing mouth.”
Rock replied: “Wow, dude, it was a GI Jane joke.”
After the Fresh Prince star repeated his remarks, the comedian added: “I’m going to, OK?
“That was the greatest night in the history of television,” he joked, seemingly still shocked by the incident.
Following this year’s ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – who run the awards – took to Twitter to stress it “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,” it said.
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.\n\nTonight 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.
While it did not state whether it would be taking action against Smith, things could soon get flipped, turned upside down for the actor – who took home the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal of 2017, the Academy issued a note to members regarding an approved code of conduct.
It read: “In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.
“The Academy asks that members embrace their responsibility to affirm these principles and act when [they] are violated.
“If any member is found by the Board of Governors to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions, the Board of Governors may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, including suspension or expulsion.”
Uncensored Version: \n\nWill Smith slaps Chris Rock real for commenting about his wife\u2019s bald head. #WillSmith #ChrisRock #Oscars2022pic.twitter.com/3AIq5TgNzt
As for law enforcement, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told The New York Post it was aware of the incident.
A representative said: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme.
“This incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.
“If the involved party desire a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
The slap came moments before Smith accepted his Oscar for playing Richard Williams, father of tennis players Venus and Serena and someone Smith described as a “fierce defender of his family”.
Emotional, Smith 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, we’ve gotta be able to take abuse. You’ve gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you.
“In this business, you’ve gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. You’ve gotta smile and pretend that that’s OK.”
He went on to mention a comment given to him by screen legend Denzel Washington, one of the attendees who consoled Smith after the earlier confrontation, saying: “In your highest moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you”.
Addressing the earlier incident, Smith added: "I want to apologise to the Academy. I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees."
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