- Will Smith discussed his altercation with Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars ceremony on Friday in his first on-camera address
- The Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has also barred Smith from attending any Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years
It was one of the most infamous moments in Academy Awards history that became known as “the slap.” The world could not stop talking about Will Smith striking comedian Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. Smith would later that night win the Academy Award for best actor for his performance as Serena and Venus Williams’ father, Richard Williams, in King Richard.
There have been a lot of developments since March, including celebrity reactions to what they saw, Rock and Pinkett Smith responding to the incident and Smith facing discipline from the Academy.
Here’s everything to know about the incident and everything that is transpired since.
Has Will Smith apologised?
The King Richard actor has publicly apologised twice for the incident. He released his most recent and first on-camera apology with a YouTube video titled “It’s been a minute …” Friday addressing commonly asked questions, including why Smith did not apologise to Rock in his acceptance speech for best actor.
“I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out,” Smith said. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologise to you.”
Smith’s first apologised in a statement released March 28, the day after the Academy Awards. He described his behaviour at the ceremony as “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith wrote at the time.
What happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars?
The controversy began when Rock appeared onstage to present the Academy Award for best documentary feature. During his introduction, Rock made a joke about a possible “G.I. Jane” sequel in reference to Pinkett Smith’s bald head.
Pinkett Smith has opened up before about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that can cause hair loss on the scalp, face or other areas of the body, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
Smith appeared to first laugh at Rock’s joke, though Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and looked upset.
Afterwards, Smith walked up to the stage, slapped Rock and returned to his seat amid confusion in the crowd about whether the segment was scripted or real.
“Will Smith just slapped the (expletive) out of me,” Rock deadpanned to the audience.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth,” Smith shouted.
“Wow, dude. It was a ‘G.I. Jane’ joke,” Rock replied. Smith repeated his previous remarks.
What was Chris Rock’s response?
Rock has not publicly discussed the incident at length, and he did not file a formal police report against Smith.
The comedian’s first remarks acknowledging the slap came during a stand-up comedy show the Wednesday following the Academy Awards. He said he was “still kind of processing what happened” and that “other than the weird thing, life is pretty good.”
Rock did not acknowledge Smith or Pinkett Smith during the stand-up show and stated he would not talk about the awards night. “If you came to hear that, I’m not … I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” Rock said.
Pinkett Smith stresses healing and compassion on ‘Red Table Talk’
Pinkett Smith addressed the slap on an episode of her talk show “Red Table Talk” in which she emphasised compassion for both Smith and Rock.
“Now, about Oscar night … my deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile,” she said. “The state of the world today, we need them both, and we all actually need one another more than ever.”
Pinkett Smith continued: “‘Til then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years and that is to keep figuring out this thing called life together.”
The Girls Trip actress had guests on the show to speak about the devastating effects of alopecia, including a mother whose daughter was bullied because of the condition.
What consequences did Smith face?
The Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences barred Smith from attending any Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years.
“The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programmes, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” the organisation said in a statement.
Smith had resigned from the Academy a week before the Academy’s disciplinary actions were announced.