The incident that happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards was quite a shocking one for everyone. This Chris Rock and Will Smith Oscars 2022 incident occurred on the 27th of March, 2022, while the awards ceremony was still happening at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles.
During the Award Ceremony, actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock right across the face while Rock was hosting the Best Documentary Feature. This incident occurred after Rock cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
What happened before the Incident?
After the Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscars 2022 incident occurred, many journalists recalled all the remarks made by Chris Rock about Jada Pinkett Smith. Chris had cracked jokes about black feminism, which really made Pinkett Smith upset.
Chris had hosted the Academy Awards twice before, which Jada boycotted due to the absence of African-American Nominees. Rock later made harsh comments about this boycott.
In the year 2022, Will Smith was nominated for an Academy Award for his film King Richards. Later, in March, Chris Rock was also announced as one of the presenters of the 94th Academy Awards.
What happened during the Incident?
Chris Rock had announced the nominees for the Best Documentary Feature. During his presentation, he performed a brief comedy monologue. Then he also joked about a couple, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, who were previous Oscar winners.
Both Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were seated in their respective seats while Chris was doing his presentation. After that, Chris cracked a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head where he drew a reference to Demi Moore’s dramatic look in the film – GI Jane.
At this joke, the audience, including Will Smith, laughed, but Jada Pinkett looked a bit annoyed at this remark. When Rock was laughing, he saw Will Smith striding toward the stage. Then Will Smith slaps Chris Rock right across his face.
After slapping, Will returned and walked down the stage to return to his seat. Most people thought this was a pre-planned comedy that had completely startled the audience.
After this incident, there was a small exchange of words between Chris Rock and Will Smith, which caused the local audience and the journalists to realize that their rage against Will Smith was genuine. This was one of the most infamous moments in the Academy Award’s history.
The aftermath of the Incident
In a statement of the Academy, which was released on the 30th of March, it was stated that Smith had been asked to leave the ceremony, which he refused. But the audience who were present there denied the fact that Smith was asked to leave.
After forty minutes of this incident, Will Smith was awarded Best Actor for his role in the film – King Richard. While giving his speech mainly focused on divine justification and his need to protect the people around him.
He then apologized to the Academy, the other nominees, and his daughter of William, but not to Chris. After his complete speech, Will received a standing ovation.
After the Ceremony, all the award winners were asked not to answer anything except their work. Also, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was prepared to arrest Smith, but they backed off due to the repeated request of Chris Rock, who repeatedly declined to press any sort of charges against Will.
After a few days, Will Smith formally apologized on his social media handles, Facebook and Instagram. He also considered his behavior to be unacceptable. He addressed Chris and said that he would like to apologize to him publicly.
He also stated that he was very embarrassed after the incident and wrong. Again on 29th July, Will posted a video on YouTube where he again apologized to Chris, his mother, and his brother for his actions.
As a result of this incident, the public image of Will Smith being a calm and composed man was totally ruined. He faced a lot of criticism even after his apologies. No one would have expected such behavior from Will.
Everyone present during this incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock was completely startled as it was the first time in television history.