Everyone will be talking about the 2022 Academy Awards for quite a while, but not for the regular reasons. They won’t be discussing who they thought should have won best director or best picture. No, they’ll only be talking about how host Chris Rock told a joke that made Will Smith so upset, that the man went up on stage and slapped him in the face.
Will Smith Hits Chris Rock On Stage At The Oscars
When I first saw the clip of Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars, I thought it was a joke, part of a bit. I wasn’t alone in this thought. Very quickly, however, everyone realized that this was not the case. Will Smith actually did hit Chris Rock and it was not for a laugh. He was angry. Very angry.
Everything was going as normal until Chris Rock, who was the host of the evening, made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. At first, Will seemed to think it was funny since he seemed to be laughing along with the joke. Evidently, he quickly changed his mind. (1)
“Jada, I love you,” Chris Rock said on stage. “G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see you.”
The joke was made in relation to Jada and her shaved head. Jada was noticeably unimpressed but it was Will who the biggest offense, most likely because of the reason Jada shaves her head — she has alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
As already mentioned, at first the now Oscar-award-winning actor seemed to find the joke funny. Then suddenly, he changed his mind. He got up, walked on stage, and smacked Chris Rock right across his face. He then returned to his seat. However, that’s not where it ended.
When Will Smith returned to his seat, he left Chris Rock rather shocked on stage. He said he couldn’t believe that Will Smith had just “smacked the s**t out of him”. That’s when Smith, from his seat, called out to the host.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!” Smith yelled.
Smith repeated the phrase, and the audience around him were obviously feeling quite uncomfortable. Chris Rock handled the situation relatively well, stating that this may have been “the greatest night in the history of television”.
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What’s Fair For Comedians On Stage?
Naturally, actors are used to being in the spotlight and having people talk about them, for good or bad. Comedians are also used to taking heat for their jokes. This incident did, however, bring up the topic of what is and isn’t appropriate for comedians to talk about on stage at events such as this. (2)
Some comedians are defending Chris Rock, saying that all is fair game. Others, however, are saying that the comedian crossed a line to poke fun at Jada’s illness. Many commented that regardless of the joke, Will Smith was out of line and should learn to control his anger better. He is used to being spoken about, and certainly as a couple they’ve been in and out of the headlines. It also by far wasn’t the most offensive joke to be told in the history of the Oscars.
Will Smith went on to win best actor for his role in King Richard. During his acceptance speech, he gave an apology. Well, sort of. He apologized to the audience, as well as to the academy. He did not mention anything about Chris Rock, however, or his unfortunately placed joke.
“I want to apologise to the Academy. I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees,” Will Smith began. “This is a 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 light on all the people, Tim [White, producer], Trevor [White, producer], Zach [Baylin, writer], Saniyya [Sidney, who plays Venus], and Demi [Singleton, who plays Serena] and Aunjanue [Ellis, who plays Oracene Price] of King Richard and Serena, the entire Williams family.” (3)
“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said. I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams but love will make you do crazy things. Being able to love and care for my mother and my family, my wife… I’m taking up too much time. Thank you for this honour. Thank you for this moment. Thank you on behalf of Richard, Oracene, the entire Williams family.”
He ended by joking that he hopes the academy invites him back after this. I guess we will have to wait until the Oscars 2023 to find out. This certainly will be an event people will talk about and remember for a very long time.