Will Smith appeared to strike Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, onstage during the 94th Academy Awards.
Rock took the stage at the Academy Awards to present the award for best documentary, which he started by making jokes about members of the audience, including Pinkett Smith, whom he referred to as “G.I. Jane” because of her short, close-cropped hair which was a result of her recent battle with alopecia.
Smith rushed to the stage shortly after Rock’s joke and slapped the comedian across the face and said “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth,” when he returned to his seat.
“Wow, dude,” responded Rock, “It was a G.I. Jane joke.”
Rock’s joke was a reference to Demi Moore’s performance as the title character in the 1997 film GI Jane, in which she wore a buzzcut.
After Smith slapped Rock, the show’s audio dropped out instantly, then remained muted as Rock shouted, “Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me,” as Smith walked away.
Rock then proceeded to present Questlove, the filmmaker of Summer of Soul, with the documentary prize.
During Smith’s tearful acceptance speech for best actor, he said, “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”
The Academy addressed the incident through a tweet, expressing “The Academy does not condone violence of any form.”
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