Will Smith Apologizes & Cries During Best Actor Oscars Speech After Slapping Chris Rock
Will Smith shocked Oscar viewers last night when he walked on stage and slapped comedian and Best Documentary Feature presenter Chris Rock in the face for a joke referring to his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith as “G.I. Jane.”
Some would consider the joke a low blow and understand Will’s response, considering that Pinkett-Smith’s baldness is the result of having struggled with the disease alopecia since 2018. There’s still no denying the moment derailed the night and caused significant tension for the rest of the affair, though.
Producers were quick to cut audio for the U.S. broadcast of the Oscars after the hit happened, with American viewers watching Smith shout Rock down in silence, but international fans quickly filled in the blanks with clips from their own feeds. After the slap, Rock is heard saying, “Oh wow. Wow, Will Smith just smacked the sh–t out of me.” As he sat back down in his seat, Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out your f––king mouth!”
UNCENSORED WILL SMITH FOOTAGE AS SHOWN ON AUSTRALIAN TV pic.twitter.com/NcRfdjWxqe
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While some cynics have theorized that this was a staged bit to drive ratings and viewers up, it certainly would have been an odd contrast to other scripted moments of the night. Also, Rock would deserve an Oscar himself if he was faking it because the comedian appeared genuinely taken aback by being slapped on Live TV.
During commercial breaks for the evening after the incident, several celebrities were seen comforting both Will and Jada, including Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry, and Bradley Cooper. The rapper and record executive Diddy also mentioned the incident when he took the stage to present after Rock. “I did not know that this year was going to be the most exciting Oscar’s ever,” he joked. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family at the Gold Party, ok?” Diddy added.
Smith later accepted the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in King Richard. The actor was overcome with emotions and started his speech with a potential allusion to the slap by saying, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” to some chuckles and murmurs in the audience. “Now I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. 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 and you got to pretend like that’s ok,” the actor added.
“I want to be an ambassador for that kind of love and care and concern,” Smith said while thanking the Williams family. He also apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for his actions and centered the end of his speech by expressing gratitude to the entire cast and crew of King Richard. He made one last crack saying, “Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
Smith skipped the typical winner’s press briefing after his speech but was later seen dancing with his award in hand at the Vanity Fair Oscar night party. Diddy spoke to a Page Six reporter at the party and claimed that Rock and Smith had already reconciled. He said, “That’s not a problem. That’s over. I can confirm that it’s all love. They’re brothers.”
You can watch the full speech below:
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