All Oscars Updates & Key Responses

All Oscars Updates & Key Responses

After the shocking moment and the ongoing controversy it caused, here are all the current updates and key responses to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. The 94th Academy Awards took place on Sunday, March 27th at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. In attendance for the ceremony was actor Will Smith, who was nominated in the Best Actor category for his work in King Richard. Smith was accompanied by his wife, fellow actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from a hair-loss condition known as alopecia. Both Smith and Pinkett Smith were seated near the front of the stage for the ceremony.

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While presenting for the 2022 Oscars Best Documentary category, actor and comedian Chris Rock made a few jokes, one of which was aimed at Pinkett Smith, referencing her shaved head and likening it to the movie G.I. Jane. Seconds after the joke, Smith walked onto the stage, approached Rock, and slapped him, before walking back to his seat and yelling at Rock from there. Rock maintained his composure and presented the award, while Smith remained seated. Forty-four minutes later, Smith was announced as the winner of the Best Actor award. The actor took to the stage and gave an emotional, tear-filled speech while apologizing to The Academy for his actions (but not to Rock) and saying he wanted to be “a vessel for love.”

Related: Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock At Oscars: Biggest Questions & What Next?

Smith returned to his seat after his Oscar win and was later seen partying with his peers and with Pinkett Smith at Vanity Fair’s afterparty. However, the next morning opened up with a slew of news and reactions to the Suicide Squad Deadshot actor’s onstage behavior, with many criticizing his actions, demanding not only an apology, but also that action be taken by The Academy and the authorities. Rock declined to press charges with the LAPD and Smith would later issue an apology via Instagram, but The Academy announced their intent to open an investigation on the matter with repercussions that may include “suspension, expulsion or other sanctions permitted.” Here is a rundown of the events with current updates and key responses.

What Happened Between Will Smith & Chris Rock At The Oscars

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage during The Oscars

While presenting Best Documentary at the ceremony, Chris Rock made an unscripted joke at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith, saying, “Jada, can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to the star’s shaved head (actress Demi Moore famously shaved her head when she starred in 1997’s G.I. Jane). Pinkett Smith was visibly annoyed by the joke, which prompted Smith to approach the stage in what seemed like a scripted moment, and slap Rock in the face before walking back to his seat. Rock was visibly shocked, saying, “Will Smith just smacked the sh*t outta me,” while Smith yelled at him (twice) from his seat to “Keep my wife’s name out your f*ckin’ mouth!” Rock explained calmly that it was a joke and then continued on with the award presentation without incident.

Why Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock At The Oscars 2022

will smith

As Smith’s reaction was an emotional one, it’s impossible to know all the factors that led to the actor leaving his seat to slap Rock on live TV. However, there is some history that may have played into Smith’s behavior. In 2020, Pinkett Smith had her husband appear on her Red Table Talk show, in which they both intimately discussed their marriage, with questions of infidelity and a suggestion of an open marriage, and it put their relationship under a microscope. The actor also went through a difficult time during Covid lockdowns, recently launching the Best Shape of My Life web series as he attempted to shed unwanted pounds. In addition, Will Smith had a number of movies and TV projects going, having recently wrapped the globe-trotting series Welcome to Earth for NatGeo, as well as the slave revolt drama Emancipation, while also dealing with the pressure of his Oscar campaign. On top of that, Jada Pinkett Smith has been open about how hard it’s been to deal with her alopecia, and that it’s been an emotional struggle at times. All of these factors, including previous jokes made by Rock at the 2016 Oscars toward Pinkett Smith, may have led to Smith’s behavior.

How The Oscars’ Audience Responded To Will Smith’s Slap

Audience reaction to will smith slap at the oscars, tyler perry, denzel washington

Surprisingly, rather than Smith being called out by his peers or pressured to leave the ceremony by them, Smith was consoled by them. Actors Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry, and Bradley Cooper, all of whom were seen talking closely with Smith, appeared to comfort and support the actor after the slap. However, those in attendance bearing witness to the event wore looks of shock and confusion, as many of them were unsure if the moment was scripted or not. Within an hour of the slap, Smith was announced as the Best Actor winner and took the stage again, giving an emotional speech that led to a standing ovation from the attendees, which made the moment even more surreal, given that Smith had just slapped Rock on the same stage under an hour before. In his speech, Smith apologized to The Academy for his behavior (but not to Rock) and noted the similarity to his King Richard role, saying, “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.”

Related: The One Thing That Saved The Oscars 2022 From Total Disaster

Will Smith Allegedly Refused To Leave The Oscars After Slapping Chris Rock

Will Smith was asked to leave the oscars after slap

Many wondered why Smith wasn’t asked to leave the ceremony after the slap, let alone be arrested for assault, but producer Will Packer and members of The Academy seemed to be unsure of what to do in the wake of the moment. Industry experts said that the incident was a tricky one, with the feeling that asking Smith to leave would’ve been worse, as it could have caused a potential riot or outburst in the audience. However, in a statement issued by The Academy afterward, it was stated that Smith was, in fact, asked to leave after the slap, but the actor refused to do so, leaving them in a difficult position. Since The Academy has issued the statement, however, some insiders familiar with the situation have come out and said that no formal ask was made of Smith to leave and that Packer actually conferred with the actor to remain after the incident. At this moment, no clear word has emerged on how this part of the story actually played out.

Will Smith Won’t Lose His Oscar After Slapping Chris Rock

will smith will not lose oscar after chris rock incident

The Academy condemned Smith’s actions in a statement made the following day of the incident, saying, “The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” before going on to emphasize the celebration of the Oscar winners of the evening. In a report following the statement, it was said that The Academy did not plan on revoking the Bad Boys and Men In Black star’s Oscar as a result of the slap, but that “a formal review” of the incident would take place, and that they will “explore further action and consequences” following their “bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”

Will Smith’s Statement & Apology After Slapping Chris Rock

Will Smith Oscars Slap Chris Rock

Roughly 24 hours after the incident, movie star Will Smith issued a formal apology via his Instagram account. It was the first instance of Smith publicly apologizing to Rock, saying, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.” Smith went on to apologize to The Academy, producers, attendees, and audiences for his behavior, saying that he deeply regretted how his behavior had stained the Oscar win for “the Williams Family and my King Richard Family.” The apology also addressed the reasons behind Smith’s behavior, citing the joke about “Jada’s medical condition” which was too much for the actor to bear, causing him to react “emotionally.” The actor ended his apology by saying he is a “work in progress.”

Jada Pinkett Smith’s Response To Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

jada pinkett-smith issues statement about will smith slap

Two days after the incident, Actress Jada Pinkett Smith issued a response via her own Instagram account, although it was a far more cryptic one than Smith’s wordy apology. Pinkett Smith instead posted a single image with the words “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.” The message can only be taken at face value and it seems to imply that the actress would like to see the incident put behind them and for all involved to find a peaceful resolution, but it’s ultimately a fairly vague and open-ended response that doesn’t provide much clarity into how the actress feels about what happened onstage. No mention of Smith, Rock, or any specifics about her feelings on the matter were expressed.

Related: Every Will Smith Sci-Fi Movie Ranked Worst To Best

What Chris Rock Has Said About Being Slapped By Will Smith

Chris Rock Oscars

Rock, who is in the middle of a comedy stand-up tour, did not immediately address the incident, with the only recorded response being him declining to press charges against Smith with the LAPD. However, during his comedy show in Boston on March 30th, the Spiral actor reportedly said that he didn’t have “a bunch of sh*t” to say about what happened at the Oscars, as he had an entire show written before the weekend that would be his focus for the stand-up show. However, he went on to say that he would likely address it in the future, saying, “I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point, I’ll talk about that sh*t. And it will be serious and funny.”

The Academy’s Response: Will Smith May Be Suspended

King Richard finally win will smith a oscar

Also on March 30th, The Academy released a full statement in regard to their intent on handling the Smith slap incident, which outlines their course of action and what disciplinary actions may be taken. The statement said that the Board of Governors had “initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith” citing the reasons as “violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.” The Academy called Smith’s actions “deeply shocking” and “traumatic” for those that witnessed them, while apologizing to Rock, attendees, and viewers. The Academy also reiterated that they had asked the Bad Boys For Life actor to leave, but that he refused, noting that they could have “handled the situation differently.” At this point, Smith will have to await The Academy’s disciplinary action, which could come as late as April 18 after The Academy’s next board meeting, at which time they “may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.”

Next: Will Smith’s Chris Rock Slap Overshadowed Oscars 2022’s Biggest Triumphs

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About The Author

Paul Shirey
(648 Articles Published)

Paul Shirey is a senior news writer for Screen Rant. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of JoBlo.com, he has over a decade of writing and reporting about the entertainment industry and has covered everything from Comic Con to CinemaCon to Star Wars Celebration, as well as covering numerous set visits and junkets all over the world. He is passionate about film, comics, TV and spends way too much on collectibles. A proud father, a combat veteran, dog lover, gym rat, coffee enthusiast and all around equal opportunity doughnut devourer, you can follow his daily exploits on Twitter and Instagram, as well as YouTube Videos on The Arctic Ninja Network.

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