One of the wildest moments in the history of the Oscars took place Sunday night as Will Smith walked onstage and slapped presenter and comedian Chris Rock for a joke Rock directed at Smith’s wife, fellow actor Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock joked that he was excited to see Jada Pinkett Smith in “G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to the actress’ alopecia condition, which results in hair loss. Jada Pinkett Smith has shaved her head as a response to the diagnosis.
Will Smith — who minutes later won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams, father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard” — walked up to Rock, slapped him and then headed back to his seat.
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“Oh, wow,” Rock said. “Wow. Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me.”
Responded Smith from his seat: “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth. Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
Here is the moment as it appeared on American television (the uncensored version can be seen here, from the Japanese broadcast of the event).
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
It should be noted that Will Smith, when accepting his Oscar, apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees — but not Rock.
The absurd unfolding of events naturally resulted in reactions from across social media. The same was true for those in the sports world.
Below are some of the more notable reactions to Smith’s slap of Rock:
Everybody hate Chris 🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/MDc7Qhi9ZG
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 28, 2022
Imma start watching the Oscar’s sheesh pic.twitter.com/88ZOxj4qhW
— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) March 28, 2022
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) March 28, 2022
NCAA x OSCARS collab: pic.twitter.com/v3ZZbeZmm3
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) March 28, 2022
it was oddly courteous of will to stop at one? i really don’t know why he didn’t keep going til the job was done.
i just keep squinting and questioning everything.
— bomani (@bomani_jones) March 28, 2022
It’s forever haunted Will Smith that he never defended his mother from his verbally & physically abusive father.
It wasn’t wise to slap Chris Rock, particularly on the biggest night of his life, but Will cares more about the protection of his loved ones than a trophy.#Oscars
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) March 28, 2022
I just saw the RAW footage. @willsmith should be ashamed of his damn self. It was a G.I. Jane joke. Total B.S. If it were @TheRock or someone like that instead of @chrisrock would he have done that shit!
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 28, 2022