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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

The world reacts to that Will Smith and Chris Rock slap at the Oscars


By Holly O'Neill
28th Mar 2022
The world reacts to that Will Smith and Chris Rock slap at the Oscars

And when we say the world, we mean Twitter.

“And The Academy Award For Best Picture Goes To La La Land”, Adele Dazeem, the standing ovation for Roman Polanski and Sally Field’s “you really like me!” speech have all lost the award for wildest moment at the Oscars, replaced by 2022’s unprecedented Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock.

This morning, Ireland woke to the world asking, “Was that real?” after Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock in the face for making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, in news that overtook everything else, including the winners – Belfast won Best Original Screenplay, if you were wondering about how the Irish fared.

“Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” said Chris Rock as he was presenting Best Documentary, a joke that’s been deemed a crack at Jada’s shaved head. It’s worth noting that Jada has also been open about her struggle with alopecia and that Chris Rock previously mocked her during the Oscars in 2016 when she was boycotting due to a lack of diversity. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” Chris Rock said at the time. “I wasn’t invited.”

Anyway, back to the slap. After the mention of G.I. Jane 2, Will Smith, who seemed to have been laughing just beforehand while Jada Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes, walked on stage, slapped Chris Rock in the face and sat back down. In the US, what happened next was muted, but videos of the Japanese and Australian streams of the Oscars have gone viral on Twitter, showing that after Will Smith sat down, Chris Rock said, “Wow – Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me” and Smith shouted “keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth.” Chris Rock said back to him, “Wow dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke!” Smith shouted “keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth,” again. “I’m going to, okay?” said Rock, followed by, “that was the greatest night in the history of television,” and then just… carried on presenting the Oscars.

From videos on social media, in the commercial break that followed, Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry approached Will Smith as he wiped his eyes. About an hour later, Will Smith won the award for Best Actor and addressed the slap in his speech, saying “Denzel said to me, ‘At your highest moment, be careful — that’s when the devil comes for you.’”

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family, in this time of my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people. I know to do what we do, you’ve got be able to take abuse, to have people talk crazy about you, you have to be able to have people disrespecting you, and you have to smile and pretend like that’s okay … I want to be a vessel for love.” Will Smith apologised to his nominees and the Academy, saying that “love will make you do crazy things.”

Will Smith got a standing ovation for his speech, Chris Rock is reportedly not filing a police report with the LAPD, and videos on social media later that night show Will Smith dancing in a circle of cameras to Gettin Jiggy With It with his Oscar so everyone is doing fine post-smack, as days worth of discourse begins. But in the meantime, the Internet exploded. Here’s how the world reacted to the slap.

Photography via Twitter.