HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: (L-R) Chris Rock and Will Smith are seen onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Will Smith Hits Chris Rock at Oscars

Viewers and attendees at this year’s Oscars were stunned when Will Smith stormed onstage to slap comedian and host Chris Rock in the face. The hit followed a joke made by Rock directed and Jada Pinkett Smith, Will’s wife of 25 years. Rock poked fun at Jada’s shaved head, a decision she made about her appearance after being diagnosed will alopecia, something she has been vocal about in the past. 

Jada began discussing her struggles with hair loss caused by the autoimmune disorder, Alopecia, in 2018. Ultimately she decided to shave her head at the end of 2021.  During his speech, Rock directed his attention to Jada, “Jada I love you, GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it”, after which Will appeared to at first laugh it off. However, Jada’s reaction was obviously disdainful, as she rolled her eyes and looked away. Only seconds later Will walked on stage and struck Rock across the face. This led to a lot of confusion as to whether the act was staged or not, however as Rock tried to compose himself, Will returned to his seat, yelling for Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. 

Following the incident, many on the internet have noted that this is not the first time Rock has made jokes at Jada’s expense on TV. During the Oscars in 2016, along with other celebrities, Jada did not attend. She and her husband were boycotting the lack of diversity in nominees, to which Rock made a joke insinuating that her protest was pointless. He said, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.” Knowledge of this history between the comedian and couple has led to speculation about Will’s outburst this year is the result of built-up anger from past issues. 

While there was still speculation as to the realness of the scene as the Oscars continued, many believe it was dispelled as Will returned to the stage to accept his award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard. In his teary-eyed speech, Will referenced his role in the movie to seemingly defend his choice to walk on stage, stating that “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family”. After apologizing to the Academy and his peers, he ended his speech with hopes that they would allow him to return next year. Will Smith has been involved in few to no controversies throughout his nearly four decades in the public eye. However, his apology has many convinced that this was not a stunt to raise buzz about the Oscars, rather a genuine reaction to an attack on his wife. 

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