During last night’s (March 27) ceremony, Rock was presenting an award when he made a “joke” about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaven head, referring to her as “G.I. Jane”. Pinkett Smith has been open in the past about suffering from alopecia.
Smith then went on stage and took a swing at the comedian, before then twice shouting “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth” when he returned to his seat.
Shortly afterwards, Smith won the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for his turn in King Richard, where he apologised “to the Academy” and his “fellow nominees”.
Chris Rock and Will Smith at the Oscars 2022 CREDIT: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
As part of his speech, the actor revealed that he spoke to his fellow nominee Washington during the commercial break.
“I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know, to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse,” Smith said.
“You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you, and you’ve got to smile, you’ve got to pretend like that’s OK.
“What I loved was, Denzel [Washington] said to me a few moments ago, he said, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you’,” he recalled.
Will Smith at the Oscars. CREDIT: Getty / Arturo Holmes
Smith later added: “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.”
Following the ceremony, the LAPD confirmed that Rock is not pressing charges against Smith at present, saying in a statement: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program.
“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.”
Smith’s son Jaden has also responded to the incident, tweeting: “And That’s How We Do It.”
The 2022 Oscars saw CODA walk away with the night’s biggest prize of Best Picture, while star Troy Kotsur became the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar after taking home Best Supporting Actor.
Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, giving a powerful speech on suicide and discrimination, while Best Supporting Actress winner Ariana DeBose became the first queer woman of colour to win an Oscar.