Will Smith punches Chris Rock at the Oscars
This year’s Oscars featured shocks, sighs and surprises – but all anyone will care about is a slap. The Academy Awards took place on Sunday night, with films including The Power of the Dog, West Side Story, Licorice Pizza and Coda battling it out in the big categories.
The biggest story of the night had almost nothing to do with the awards: a shocking altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock sparked by a joke about Smith’s wife Jada. Smith walked up onto the stage and appeared to smack Rock in the face, before shouting at him to not refer to his wife again.
It undoubtedly overshadowed the night as a whole, and notably – just minutes later – Smith’s win of the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard. Through tears, Smith called himself “a vessel of love” and apologised to the Academy. The LAPD confirmed that Rock is not pressing charges. The Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form” and launched a “formal review” into what happened. Hours later, Smith apologised to Rock and said he was “embarrassed”.
Smith was also reportedly asked to leave the Oscars after breaking the Academy’s code of conduct, but he refused.
Following the on-stage incident, celebrities including Alec Baldwin and Adam Sandler have spoken out in support of Rock, whose forthcoming comedy tour has since experienced a huge surge of interest.
On Wednesday, during the sold-out Boston show of his Ego Death tour, Rock finally addressed the altercation between him and Smith.
You can follow all the developments about the “slap that was heard around the world” in our live blog below…
Oscars producer reveals LAPD were ‘prepared’ to arrest Will Smith
In a forthcoming interview on Good Morning America, Packer revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department told Rock they were “prepared to get [Smith]” after the actor struck him before the Oscars live audience on 27 March.
“They were saying, you know, this is battery, was a word they used in that moment,” Packer said in a clip from the interview which was released by ABC on Thursday (31 March).
“They said we will go get him. We are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges, we can arrest him. They were laying out the options,” he continued, adding that Rock was “very dismissive” of the idea.
Maanya Sachdeva1 April 2022 04:56
George Wallace wants Chris Rock to sue Will Smith
Legendary comedian George Wallace wants Chris Rock to sue Will Smith over the slap at the Oscars.
Wallace, best known for his HBO specials and shows in Las Vegas said “I would sue him for $200m (£152m).”
He also said that Smith “crossed the line”: “The first step crossed the line. He just laughed at the joke, which wasn’t a great joke but it was a good joke. Will Smith could have asked for an apology after the show. But nobody would remember the damn joke if he’d just stayed in his seat.”
Wallace also praised the Oscars show and the performance of hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall but said Smith came along to “screw it up”.
Sam Moore31 March 2022 21:56
Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock received 66 complaints from TV viewers
Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars received 66 complaints from viewers watching at home.
Though watched by around 15 million people in the US, the FCC only received a very small number of complaints over the incident.
One of the complaints obtained by TMZ said: “Will Smith physically and verbally assaulted Chris Rock in front of the world on national TV at the Oscars tonight,” it read. “It was so bad the words Will was yelling at Chris were blocked out from the public’s hearing. Will should be banned from further Oscars and should be arrested for assault which we all saw. There should be no allowance for privilege for such violence which would be apparent to all.”
Sam Moore31 March 2022 20:27
Ricky Gervais says he would have joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s ‘boyfriend’ instead of her hair
Ricky Gervais has said he would have joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s “boyfriend” instead of her bald hair.
During a stand-up show in London, the comedian addressed the Oscars controversy head on.
He joked: “People were going, ‘What would have happened if Ricky Gervais had been doing it hosting the Oscars?’ Well, nothing, as I would not have made a joke about his wife’s hair. I would have made a joke about her boyfriend.”
Earlier this week, Gervais retweeted a post featuring an alopecia joke from The Office.
Sam Moore31 March 2022 19:38
Rishi Sunak compares criticism of wife to Will Smith’s Oscars slap
Rishi Sunak has compared criticism of his wife’s business ties with Russia to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.
The chancellor was speaking on the BBC’s Newscast podcast when he said: “Someone said, ‘Joe Root, Will Smith, and me – not the best of weekends for any of us’.”
He then went on to say: “But I feel, on reflection, both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked – at least I didn’t get up and slap anybody, which is good.”
Sunak’s wife has a stake in IT giant Infosys which has continued to operate in Russia since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine. The stake is reported to be worth around £690m.
Sam Moore31 March 2022 17:43
One filmmaker less than impressed by Will Smith’s slap (and subsequent Best Actor speech) is Pedro Almodóvar.
Writing for IndieWire, the Parallel Mothers director said that he’d felt “absolute rejection” on seeing the altercation take place, while comparing Smith’s speech to that of a “cult leader”.
“You don’t defend or protect the family with your fists, and no, the devil doesn’t take advantage of key moments to do his work,” he said, a reference to Denzel Washington’s words to Smith after he hit Rock.
Isobel Lewis31 March 2022 15:26
The world now waits with intrigue to see what action, if any, will be taken against Will Smith.
No actor has ever been stripped of their Oscar before, but several stars have had their Academy membership revoked.
Read which five film industry figures were stripped of their membership below.
Isobel Lewis31 March 2022 14:00
Viewers criticise ‘impotent decision’ not to remove Will Smith from Oscars
The Academy is now facing criticism for failing to get Will Smith to leave the Oscars after hitting Chris Rock.
After the board that hands out the Oscars said that “Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused”, viewers have questioned how the actor was not only not removed from Hollywood’s biggest night, but went on to win an award minutes later.
Isobel Lewis31 March 2022 13:17
New footage shows Jada Pinkett Smith’s reaction to ‘The Slap’
New footage of Jada Pinkett Smith reacting to husband Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars live ceremony has emerged online.
The footage seemingly filmed on a mobile phone, and shared on TikTok, shows the viewpoint of somebody sat behind the Smiths, who were on the front row.
Pinkett Smith can be seen laughing at Rock’s response to the altercation: “Will smith just slapped the s*** out of me.”
Jacob Stolworthy has the full story:
Maanya Sachdeva31 March 2022 11:51
Daniel Radcliffe says he’s ‘already dramatically bored’ with Will Smith drama
One celebrity who won’t be weighing in on the Will Smith/Chris Rock drama is Daniel Radcliffe.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, the Harry Potter star was asked for his thoughts on the dramatic moment.
However, Radcliffe refused to offer his own opinions, saying: “I saw it, I’m just so already dramatically bored of hearing people’s opinions about it that I just don’t want to be another opinion adding to it.’”
Isobel Lewis31 March 2022 10:41