Later in the show, the star, who won his first ever Oscar, apologized to the crowd for the altercation, but not to Rock.
The 2022 Academy Awards were eventful, to say the least. Chris Rock, who was introducing the award for Best Documentary, thought he would get away with a joke that was a dig at Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia.
According to PEOPLE, Rock joked to Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith in the audience, "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya." At first, Smith, 53, laughed from his seat while Pinkett Smith, 50, pulled an unimpressed expression. But just moments later, the Pursuit Of Happiness star took the stage and smacked Rock, 57, across the face.
"Oh wow," said a seemingly taken-aback Rock as Smith made his way back to his seat. "Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me."
"Keep my wife's name out your f---ing mouth!" Smith yelled up to the stage at Rock after taking his seat again. "Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke," said Rock—to which Smith replied once again, "Keep my wife's name out your f---ing mouth!"
"I'm going to, okay?" Rock replied, before going on to say, "That was the ... greatest night in the history of television" and presenting the award.
Later in the show, Smith, who won his first-ever Oscar, apologized to the crowd for the altercation, but not to Rock. "I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," he said during a tearful acceptance speech for best actor, according to BBC.
Smith, who won the best actor award for playing the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard, then 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."
Rock's joke referred to the 1997 film GI Jane, in which Demi Moore played the title role with a severe buzzcut. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Variety that Chris Rock has “declined to file a police report” post the assault.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. 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," the full statement read.
Also, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, tweeted that it "does not condone violence of any form".
Pinkett, who suffers from autoimmune disorder alopecia (which attacks hair follicles resulting in bald spots and hair loss) opened up about her "issues with hair loss" during an episode of her show Red Table Talk in 2018, where she said, "It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, 'Oh my god, am I going bald?' "
Chris Rock making jokes on people's medical conditions tbh was low-grade humour nevertheless, Will Smith being my favourite movie actor resorting to slapping was so out of character. 🤦🏽♂️💔— The Stingy Billionaire (@AnkuPaakwasi) March 28, 2022
Eventually, she found a treatment that halted some of the hair loss. "I'm getting my little steroid injections, and they seem to be helping, but not curing, but they seem to be helping, but I'm open to other ideas," the star previously said in a video post.
Pinkett Smith, who showed off her short hairstyle, also said she was grateful for the advice she has received. "I just want to say a thank you to everyone for all the outreach, from all the doctors and all the holistic practitioners, who have been reaching out to me for this head of mine, I appreciate it so much," she said. "And I'm taking into a lot of consideration all the recommendations that are coming my way."
Cover Image Source: Twitter | BBC