Oscars 2022: Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock? What did Chris Rock say about the actor’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith?

There was a mixed reaction following the Oscars last night (March 27) when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face - why did he do it?

During the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, Will Smith saw red, charged on stage and slapped Chris Rock across the face when the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

When he sat back down he said: “Leave my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”

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But how did it all start? Here’s everything you need to know so far.

Will Smith.  (Pic credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images)Will Smith.  (Pic credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images)
Will Smith. (Pic credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images)

Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock? What did he say?Will Smith took offence to Rock’s joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Presenting the awards for that segment, Rock initially made a joke about Penelope Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem.

He said: “You know who’s got the hardest job tonight? Javier Bardem and his wife are both nominated. Now if she loses, he can’t win. He is praying that Will Smith wins, please, Lord.”

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Rock then turned to Jada and said: “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2 - can’t wait to see it, alright?”

The joke was in reference to her short hair, which she opened up about on Instagram.

Jada was diagnosed with alopecia in 2018 and since then she’s been sharing her journey openly on social media and her Red Table Talk TV series.

In 2018, she said: “A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing turbans. Well, I haven’t talked about it. It’s not easy to talk about, but I am going to talk about it.

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“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?’

“It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it.”

In an Instagram post in December 2021, she said, as she pointed to the top of her head: “Now at this point, I can only laugh. Y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here. Look at that.

“So it just showed up like that and this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So I thought I’d share it so y’all are not asking any questions.”

How did Hollywood react?

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Will Smith has received some backlash following his impulse, off-script slap, as Hollywood actors and comedians alike took to Twitter to express their views.

Comedian and director, Judd Apatow, known for films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Trainwreck and This Is 40, said: “He could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshmen in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.” His tweet has since been deleted.

Comedian and actress, Kathy Griffin, said: “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theatres.”

Journalist Maria Shriver said: “We should never get to a place where we sit and watch a movie star hit someone on global television then, moments later, get a standing ovation while talking about love.”

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Some rushed to Smith’s defence, including his son, Jaden, said: “And That’s How We Do It.”

Rapper, 50 Cent, said: “B*tch don’t you ever play with me. LOL.”

Whilst others criticised both Smith and Rock, as actress Sophia Bush said: “Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the second time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, and tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”

That night, Will Smith won an Academy Award for his role as Richard in the Serena and Venus Williams biopic King Richard.

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During his acceptance speech he said: “I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend that’s ok.

“I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to my former fellow nominees. This is beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people, Tim, Trevor, Zack, Saniyya, Demi and Aunjaunue and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family.

“Art imitates life; I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams but love will make you do crazy things.”

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