‘Oscars 2022’: Chris Rock’s ‘G.I. Jane’ Joke That Outraged Will Smith, Explained

The Oscars 2022 showcased an altercation no one saw coming. Chris Rock and Will Smith got into an altercation on stage after Rock issued a G.I. Jane joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Here’s everything to know about Rock’s joke and why Smith ran on stage to slap the comedian during the live show.

Who is ‘G.I. Jane’? What did Chris Rock say that outraged Will Smith at the Oscars 2022?

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith smiling together at an awards show
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The Oscars 2022 showed Chris Rock and Will Smith getting in an on-stage physical altercation no one saw coming — and it all had to do with Rock’s joke about the movie G.I. Jane. So, what does the movie have to do with the Smith family? And what did Chris Rock say to cause such outrage from Will Smith?

G.I. Jane is a 1997 movie starring Demi Moore as the lead, Jordan O’Neil. O’Neil is the first woman to undergo Navy Seal training, and she outlasts many of her male counterparts after taking part in the brutal Seal preparation. To further solidify her position as a Seal, O’Neil strips herself of her femininity. Moore shaves her head to become the “G.I. Jane” that the title suggests.

So, what did Chris Rock say to Will Smith that had to do with Jada Pinkett Smith and the 1997 film? Decider explains Rock was presenting on stage at the Oscars 2022 when he joked Smith could star as the next lead for G.I. Jane. He said this because Pinkett Smith’s currently rocking a bald hairstyle due to alopecia. This led to Smith’s infamous slap of the comedian on stage.

Jada Pinkett Smith has talked about having alopecia before

Prior to Chris Rock and Will Smith’s altercation and the G.I. Jane debacle, Jada Pinkett Smith discussed her alopecia. In December 2021, Pinkett Smith posted a video to Instagram of her saying she was going to embrace the disorder that causes hair loss, according to Billboard.

The video posted to Instagram shows Pinkett Smith fingering through her hair at the time and bringing attention to the balding areas. “Y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here. Look at that,” she said.

“So it just showed up like that and this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide,” she added. “So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all are not asking any questions.”

In the caption of the post, Pinkett Smith noted, “Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”

Chris Rock dissed Jada Pinkett Smith in the past

Jada Pinkett Smith on the red carpet at the Oscars with a shaved head and a green dress
Jada Pinkett Smith | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

While Will Smith and Chris Rock never had such public tension prior to the Oscars 2022 G.I Jane joke, Jada Pinkett Smith and Chris Rock have had their issues.

In 2016, Us Weekly reported Rock publicly made fun of Pinkett Smith for boycotting the Oscars. She was boycotting the event due to a lack of diversity amongst the nominees.

“Jada said she’s not coming,” Rock joked at the time. “I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!”

In response, Pinkett Smith just said she wants to “keep it moving” beyond the jokes. “Hey, look, it comes with the territory, but we gotta keep it moving,” she said in an interview. “We gotta keep it moving. We gotta keep it moving. There’s a lot of stuff we gotta handle, a lot of stuff in our world right now. We gotta keep it moving.”

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