Will Smith was able to truly steal the show in a way fans and spectators will never forget.
On March 27, the 94th Academy Award Show was hosted by comedian Chris Rock. During the show he was going through his monologue, talking about how he believes Javier Bardem secretly wanted Will Smith to win the Oscar. He then moves his attention to the Smiths, where things took a drastic turn.
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it. Alright?” Rock joked.
While on camera it appeared to show the “King Richard” actor laughing, Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes at the comment. Still laughing at the joke, Rock was slapped by Smith, leaving him just as surprised as the rest of the audience.
“Will Smith just slapped the sh*t out of me,” Rock said.
While the original audio was censored during the airing of the award show, the audience could easily hear Smith yelling from his seat.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f***king mouth!” he demanded of Rock.
For those who don’t know, Jada Pinkett Smith opened up about her struggles with alopecia previously. The Mayo Clinic describes alopecia as “a disease that causes the immune system to attack the hair follicle.” She first spoke about her experience with the disease during a 2018 episode of her family talk show “Red Table Talk.”
“I was in the shower one day, and then just handfuls of hair just in my hands, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’” she said. “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear.”
While many assumed that Smith acted the way he did due to the alopecia comments, it is important to note this was not the first time Rock made a joke at the “Red Table talk” host’s expense.
“Jada said she’s not coming, to protest. I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s going to boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited,” he told the 2016 Oscar attendees.
The Oscars claimed that they “heavily considered” removing Smith, however, he ended up winning best actor for his movie “King Richard.” There, he delivered a tearful acceptance speech.
“I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you. And you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that’s okay,” he told the crowd Sunday night.
Smith made a point to apologize to the academy but made no mention of “The Tambourine” comedian at that moment.
The following Monday there were mixed feelings about the incident from University of Miami students. Yvanna Bollanga, a senior studying media management and broadcast journalism, was in full support of Smith.
“Will was not wrong for what he did—anyone who loves their wife is going to want to protect them,” Bollanga said. “I think that was his first instinct.”
Others like Andrea Bianchi, a junior communications studies major, had issues with what happened that night.
“Honestly, I was shocked by what happened, but I think both were in the wrong. [Chris Rock] was trying to make a joke but he went too far, but at the same time [Will Smith’s] reaction also went too far. You can’t just slap someone on national television,” Bianchi said.
TMZ reported that Rock had no idea about Pinkett Smith’s condition. Sources told the news outlet that Rock was shaken and bewildered by the assault.
On March 28, the following day after the Oscars, Smith issued a formal apology, now acknowledging Rock.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” Smith wrote to Instagram.
“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.”
He then went on to apologize to the Academy a second time, as well as the Williams family, who attended the event to support Smith for playing their father, Richard Williams.
The story does not end here. According to Radar Online, the Smiths might be gearing up to tell their full side of the story on Facebook’s “The Red Table Talk” in the coming weeks.
Featured image courtesy of Instagram: @theacademy