Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at Oscars: See Nicki Minaj, Jimmy Kimmel and More Reactions to Shocking Incident
By Philiana Ng
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The slap seen around the world.
Will Smith and Chris Rock's onstage altercation at the Oscars on Sunday was the biggest moment to come out of the 94th annual awards ceremony, and it drew a flurry of reactions from the stunned audience inside the Dolby Theatre to telecast viewers to celebrities, including standup comedians and Hollywood stars.
Smith went onstage after Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, when he referred to her as "G.I. Jane." Pinkett Smith could be seen rolling her eyes in response to the joke. (The actress has also been open about her struggles with alopecia, which she was diagnosed with several years ago.)
Soon after Rock's joke, the King Richard star, who later apologized to the Academy during his Best Actor acceptance speech and alluded to the altercation, could be seen yelling at Rock once he returned to his seat: "Leave my wife's name out of your f**king mouth."
The tense moment between Smith and Rock was met with a mix of reactions on social media, as it overshadowed the rest of the evening. While some supported Smith, others expressed their disdain for it even going that far. Oscars producer Will Packer took to Twitter after the telecast to react to a memorable awards show, seemingly alluding to the Smith-Rock fight: "Welp...I said it wouldn't be boring."
Later, after a Twitter user told Packer that "making jokes about an assault that happened during your show isn’t the congratulatory message you think it is," the producer responded with another tweet.
"Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it," he wrote. "I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you. But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels."
Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you. But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels. https://t.co/zzgeKIqrHm
Many standup comedians had issue with Smith's slap, as some explained it opened a dangerous door, for future hecklers or those unhappy with a joke. Kathy Griffin tweeted in reaction to the moment, "Let me tell you something it's 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 theaters."
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 theaters.
Jeff Ross took a similar stance, speaking out in support of Rock and how he handled the situation.
"I worship Chris Rock. I cried when I saw Smith attack him because I was watching my idol live out a comedians [sic] worst nightmare on live television," Ross wrote in part. "Rock should get a Nobel peace prize for keeping his hands down and not escalating the situation. Class act."
On his SiriusXM show, Howard Stern likewise took Rock's side, adding that Smith displayed "a sign of great mental illness" by being unable to "control [his] impulse."
“Poor Chris Rock is a comedian and just trying to get through the day to make the f**king people laugh at that horrible ceremony," Stern said. "[Rock is] so fast comedy wise, he actually covered and made a joke and said, 'Gee, best Oscars yet.'"
For his part, Jimmy Kimmel didn't want the incident to overshadow other parts of the Oscars, specifically the three hosts.
"I know the big story is the slap, but congratulations to @amyschumer @iamwandasykes & Regina Hall who were very funny," he wrote. "I hope that isn't overshadowed by the unpleasantness #Oscars"
I know the big story is the slap, but congratulations to @amyschumer@iamwandasykes & Regina Hall who were very funny - I hope that isn't overshadowed by the unpleasantness #Oscars
Meanwhile, Nikki Minaj sided with Smith, though she did note that she doesn't think Rock "would’ve made that joke had he known what Jada recently shared."
"You just got to witness in real time what happens in a man’s soul when he looks over to the woman he loves & sees her holding back tears from a 'little joke' at her expense," Minaj tweeted. "This is what any & every real man feels in that instant. While y’all seeing the joke he’s seeing her pain."
You just got to witness in real time what happens in a man’s soul when he looks over to the woman he loves & sees her holding back tears from a “little joke” at her expense. This is what any & every real man feels in that instant. while y’all seeing the joke he’s seeing her pain
Tonight was supposed to be a triumph for Gen-X Hip-hop. Will Smith won an Oscar over Denzel at the height of D's power. Questlove and Jazzbo won Oscars. D-Nice is DJing and Will Packer hip-hop filmmaker produced it. Beyonce, Puff, Jay and Latifah there. All upstaged by The Slap.
I think there’s going to be a lot of think pieces written about tonight. Lots of justifications and excuses for behaviors on both sides. I even made a joke about it that I now regret. Bottom line - when in doubt - or on the world’s stage - choose kindness. Be the example.
so upsetting - on every level - bravo to Chris Rock - for not eviscerating will smith - which he could do any day of the week - he walked away - bravo from a sad display of toxic masculinity from a narcissistic madman #Oscars2022#chrisROCK
Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & 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.