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‘Showed Us He Was as Ugly as the Rest of Us’: Dave Chapelle Claims Will Smith ‘Ripped His Mask Off’ When He Slapped Chris Rock 

It’s not clear whether Chris Rock has or ever will get over getting slapped by Will Smith live at the 94th annual Academy Awards, but it doesn’t appear that he or fellow comedian Dave Chappelle have an issue joking about it.

In recent weeks, Rock has gotten more vocal about the March incident and his thoughts about the Oscar award-winning star who went on to take home Best Actor in a Leading Role statuette for his role in “King Richard” shortly after striking the “Everybody Hates Chris” creator for making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. 

The veteran comedian spoke on the heated moment in front of a sold-out crowd at Liverpool’s M&S Arena when Chappelle asked, “Did that s–t hurt?” the Daily Mail reported. “Goddamn right …” the “Good Hair” actor responded. “The motherf–ker hit me over a bulls–t joke, the nicest joke I ever told,” he added. 

Chappelle later shared his thoughts on Smith, claiming the actor went his entire career merely portraying what many described as model citizen, but he shared that he hopes the 53-year-old movie star “lets his real face breathe.” 

“Will did the impression of a perfect person for 30 years, and he ripped his mask off and showed us he was as ugly as the rest of us,” Chappelle explained. “Whatever the consequences are … I hope he doesn’t put his mask back on again and lets his real face breathe. I see myself in both men.”

Amid the Oscar scandal, Rock was at the receiving end of criticism last month following comments he made during a show in Arizona. Rock told audience members at Arizona Financial Theater in Phoenix that he was asked to return and host the 95th annual ceremony but declined the offer. 

The actor later made a bold comparison of his returning to the Academy to O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. Reportedly, “Rock compared returning to the Oscars like returning to the scene of a crime, referencing the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, whose ex-wife’s killing began with her leaving a pair of eyeglasses at an Italian restaurant.”

The newspaper account continued, “Rock said returning to the award ceremony would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson ‘to go back to the restaurant.’”

Backlash ensued almost immediately, with many noting that the joke was not only “utterly tasteless” but “unfunny,” as shared by a Twitter user. “Thus, very much a Chris Rock joke…,” the person continued. “But also, it makes no damn sense. The restaurant wasn’t even the scene of the crime. In fact, one could argue that if Nicole went back to the restaurant that night, she and Ron Goldman would’ve lived.”

In light of Rock’s openness to speak about the slap heard all over the world, he has yet to address Smith’s apology video. In July, the actor extended an olive branch to the former collaborator: “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”

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