During Sunday night's 94th Academy Awards ceremony, actor Will Smith walked up on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face after Rock poked fun at Smith's wife.
Audience members were left stunned after Smith walked up on stage and planted his palm on Rock's cheek after Rock, who was presenting the award for best documentary, compared Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, to G.I. Jane, presumably because she is bald. Pinkett Smith suffers from Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes one's hair to fall out, often in large clumps.
"Jada, I love you, 'G.I. Jane 2,' can't wait to see it," Rock joked from the Oscar's stage.
The camera then turned to Smith and Pinkett Smith. Smith initially appeared to laugh at the joke, while Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes at it. The camera then panned back to Rock as he responded to the joke's reaction, saying, "That was a nice one."
Smith then walked into frame, slapped Rock across the face and returned to his seat.
Rock, seemingly stunned by the altercation, responded saying, "Oh, wow. Wow. Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me."
Smith then shouted, "Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth," several times at Rock.
Nearly 40 minutes later, Smith was invited back on stage to accept the Oscar for Best Actor. While accepting the award for his performance as Richard Williams, the father to tennis professionals Venus and Serena Williams, Smith tearfully compared himself to the man he played on screen 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," Smith said, highlighting that he, like Williams, is being called to protect his loved ones.
"I'm being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people," he added, before noting that fellow actor Denzel Washington warned him that "at your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you."
Smith then issued an apology to the Academy and his fellow nominees. Rock was not mentioned in the apology.
"I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," he said.
"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things," he added, seemingly referring to the earlier incident.
While Smith was still allowed to accept his award, the Academy issued a statement Monday morning noting that it "does not condone violence of any form."
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
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.
According to the New York Post, the Los Angeles Police Department was also made aware of the assault, but Rock has decided not to file charges.
"LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program," an LAPD spokesperson told the Post. "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."
It is unclear what disciplinary action, if any, will be taken against Smith by the Academy.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Neilson Barnard/Staff
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.