Will Smith will probably be a trending topic for some time after the veteran actor walked on stage and smacked Chris Rock across the face after the comedian poked fun at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, not long before Smith accepted his first career Oscar.
The shocking moment occurred after Rock took aim at Pinkett Smith’s shaved head while in place to present the award for Best Documentary, telling the actress, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.” Smith was spotting laughing. However, the “Girls Trip ” star looked noticeably annoyed, rolling her eyes in frustration.
The “I am Legend” star, who was up for Best Actor for his role in “King Richard,” then walked on stage and slapped the comedian. Rock was left stunned by what transpired. “Oh wow,” he said as Smith returned to his seat. “Will Smith just smacked the sh-t out of me,” he added.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!” Smith yelled up to the stage at Rock after returning to his seat. “Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke,” Rock said to Smith, who replied once again, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!” Rock went on to say, “I’m going to, okay?” before adding, “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
The incident appeared to split critics, many of whom took to social media where they shared their opinions on the situation, including one Twitter user who condemned Smith’s actions, writing, “Stephen A, I love you man. You said it as it is. I love Will Smith but you were outrageously out of character by slapping Chris Rock. Slapping someone at the Oscars is like fighting at the White House.” That person added, “Chris Rock handled the violence gracefully,” before sharing a clip of sports commentator Stephen A. Smith addressing the now-viral incident.
Another online user argued, “Stop embarrassing, demeaning, and belittling Black women, and you won’t get b–ch slapped. Period. Will Smith defended his wife against a man his wife said she has beef with. Chris Rock will be alright.”
The social media debate about which star was in the wrong continued well into the night and morning. While many argued that Smith’s grievance with Rock should’ve been handled backstage, others noted the actor’s long history of being the focus of jokes regarding his family and reported infidelities in their marriage.
During his Best Actor’s acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and his nominated peers for his actions. Meanwhile, most everyone online is attempting to understand what led to the heated exchange, with some of the reasons below making their way onto those lists.
Pinkett Smith’s Battle with Alopecia
Last year, Pinkett Smith began opening up more about her hair-loss journey in dealing with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder. The “Matrix” actress initially revealed her diagnosis on her talk show “Red Table Talk.” She explained to her many concerned fans that she frequently wore turbans because her hair was falling out in chunks.
Pinkett Smith’s “Entanglement “ with August Alsina
In a scandal that breathed new life into the word “entanglement,” Pinkett Smith opened up about her relationship with singer and songwriter August Alsina, while she and Smith were going through a separation. The discussion was held at the red table and became one of the most-watched episodes.
Memes About Their Relationship
Smith became the subject of dozens of online jokes following his and his wife’s candid conversation about their marriage, outside relationships and more.
During an interview with Gayle King ahead of the big award night, Smith denied cheating claims, saying, “There’s never been infidelity in our marriage.” He added, “Never. Jada and I talk about everything, and we have never surprised one another with anything, ever.” However, people online didn’t appear to be buying Smith’s claim.
Chris Rock’s Past Comments
The 94th-annual Academy Awards wasn’t the first time Rock poked fun at the “Set It Off” star. While hosting the ceremony in 2016, Rock called out the Smiths for not attending the event that year. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” Rock said during his opening monologue. “I wasn’t invited.”