Oscars 2022: Will Smith appears to hit Chris Rock on Oscars stage after joke about wife’s hair

Will Smith appeared to punch Chris Rock in the face on stage after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s haircut.

By Gemma Murray
Monday, 28th March 2022, 9:58 am
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 10:38 am

Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”

Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Rock appeared shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.

He said: “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

But accepting his Oscar, Will Smith said: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

“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 a light on all of the people.”

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

After paying tribute to his mother and his family he added: “Thank you for this honour, thank you for this moment…I hope the Academy invites me back.”

And comedian Chris Rock was “mistaken” to make a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, the Education Secretary said.

Speaking to LBC, Nadhim Zahawi described Smith as “one of my favourite actors”.

He said: “Violence is never the answer to any problem-solving, as Will Smith admitted himself in that tearful, heart-wrenching apology.

“I think we should also remember – and I’m the Education Secretary – that actually sometimes even a joke can be below the belt.

“When a joke is about somebody’s wife and her illness – she has alopecia – it is wrong. I think Chris Rock was mistaken to do that to Mrs Smith.”

He added: “I have to say, a first Oscar for one of my favourite actors was wonderful to see – marred by that incident, sadly.”

The Education Secretary said Will Smith was a talented actor and that he felt the Hollywood star had shown regret for striking comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony.

Nadhim Zahawi, asked how he would explain the incident to children if he was a teacher, told BBC Breakfast: “I would say, don’t do it.

“You could see Will Smith – and my heart was broken when I saw him, that tearful apology, he apologised immediately.

“It was hard for him because it was someone who made a joke about his wife and her illness. That’s not easy but he regretted it and he apologised immediately.

“It is heart-breaking when you lose control of your emotions in that way, but I think it is important not to allow yourself to cross that line, and he apologised immediately, which is good to see.

“A very talented man, his first Oscar in a fantastic film, King Richard… it is a brilliant film of aspiration for that family, but my heart went out to Will Smith and his family.”

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) says no police report has yet been filed following an altercation at the 94th Academy Awards, during which Oscar-winner Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock.

“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme,” an LAPD spokesperson told the PA news agency.

“The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.

“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

The Academy has said it “does not condone violence of any form” following an altercation during the 94th annual ceremony between best actor winner Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock.

“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” the organisation tweeted.

“Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

Will Smith’s son Jaden has told his Twitter followers his father’s acceptance speech for best actor at the 94th Academy Awards made him cry.

He tweeted: “My Dads Speech Made Me Cry” and added a selfie of him in a red suit and sunglasses.

His father, who won the award for his performance in King Richard, appeared to slap comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars. Smith appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made about wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.

He used his acceptance speech to apologise, saying: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.”

“I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. 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 a light on all of the people.”

He continued: “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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