Skip to navigationSkip to content
ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

This will be the most famous Oscars clip for the rest of your life

94th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood
Reuters/Brian Snyder
Will Smith (R) hits at Chris Rock as Rock spoke on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27,…
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Published

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars. He then returned to his seat and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” All of this on live television.

This altercation during the 2022 Oscars was set off by a joke Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” he said, referring to the 1997 film in which Demi Moore starred played GI Jane with a severe buzzcut. In Pinkett Smith’s case, her hair loss is caused by alopecia, she disclosed in an Instagram post last December.

Neither Smith nor the Oscars aren’t going to live this down.

Will Smith then won the Oscar for best actor

As Smith skulked off the stage, Rock told the audience, “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

There was a lot of commotion in the aftermath of the violent incident. The next presenter, Diddy, told Smith and Rock that “we’re going to solve this like family.” Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry reportedly comforted Smith.

Minutes later, when Smith bagged the best actor award—his first Oscar ever—for starring as Serena and Venus Williams’ father in the biography King Richard, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees.

However, he did not apologize to Rock for smacking him across the face. Instead, he said, “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 publicly apologized to Rock in a statement posted on Instagram a day later.)

After the event, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, tweeted that it “does not condone violence of any form.” But not only was Smith not made to leave, he was allowed to accept the award. Now, the Academy says it has initiated a “formal review” into the incident.

Meanwhile, Rock also “declined to file a police report,” the LA police department said.

This post has been updated.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.