Will Smith Issues Statement Following Incident With Chris Rock at Academy Awards

TL;DR:

  • Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith
  • The Academy has launched an investigation into the incident
  • Will Smith as publicly apologized to Rock and a host of others in a statement posted to Instagram
combination of pictures created on March 28, 2022 shows US actor Will Smith approaching US actor Chris Rock onstage at the Academy Awards
Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Academy Awards | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The Academy Awards are supposed to be about celebrating the accomplishments of the movie industry each year. Will Smith’s onstage antics largely overshadowed the big winners at the 94th Academy Awards. The famed actor walked on stage and slapped host, Chris Rock, after Rock made a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense. Less than 24 hours after the incident, the Oscar winner has issued a statement. 

Will Smith issues an apology after slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards 

Will Smith’s onstage antics have been the talk of Hollywood since last night. Less than 24 hours after the incident, an investigation by the academy has been launched. Now, the celebrated actor is speaking out about what happened. In a lengthy statement, Smith apologized for the incident. 

In a statement shared on Instagram, the famed actor apologized directly to Rock for stepping on stage and slapping him. He then apologized to the academy, the public, and everyone who was in attendance at the event. Finally, he also apologized to the cast and crew of King Richard and the Williams family. 

Shortly after his violent outburst, Smith took home the trophy in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role category for his work in King Richard. It was his first Academy Award win, but his third nomination in the category. 

Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock? 

Smith and Rock have had issues before. While there appeared to be no love lost between the two entertainers, there was never violence. Rock’s joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, however, pushed things a bit too far, according to Smith. During the event, Rock called out the Red Table Talk host, saying, “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars
L-R: Chris Rock and Will Smith | Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

The joke, referring to Pinkett Smith’s hair loss, was deemed largely insensitive by the crowd in attendance and viewers at home. After the remark, Smith got up, walked on stage, and slapped Rock. He then walked back to his seat. U.S. censors cut the audio for viewers during the incident, but other countries airing the ceremony allowed the sound to play. 

After sitting back down, Rock noted that the famed actor “smacked the s*** out” of him. From his seat, Smith demanded that Rock not speak about his wife again. The rest of the ceremony continued without incident. 

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

In a 2018 segment for Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith revealed that she deals with alopecia. There are several types of alopecia. In some cases, the hair loss is temporary. In other cases, it can be a permanent or recurring issue.

Could he lose his Oscar? 

While the King Richard star has officially issued an apology for his behavior, some experts believe the story is far from over. In fact, it’s possible that he could lose the Oscar he won just last night. The academy has a code of conduct that all members are expected to uphold. The violent outburst more than likely violated that code. Still, the academy has not yet made a decision. An investigation is ongoing.

According to the New York Post, the Los Angeles Police Department was aware of the incident. An LAPD spokesperson told the publication, “The individual involved has declined to file a police report.” Criminally, the matter appears to be closed. 

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