Sunday evening at the 94th Academy awards, Best Actor nominee Will Smith ‘rocked’ Hollywood’s biggest night when he shockingly went on stage to slap Chris Rock for a joke the comedian made about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s bald head. The bizarre altercation occurred moments before Will Smith won the Best Actor award.
The moment was shocking and so instantaneous that if you blinked, you could have missed it. While presenting the award for Best Documentary, the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith who was also in attendance, saying, “I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it”, alluding to the idea that Jada’s bald head is reminiscent of the fictional character, G.I Jane’s shaven head – a role played by Demi Moore in 1997 film. Jada was seen to be visibly annoyed by the joke.
The joke may have been particularly touchy and insensitive to the Smiths, due to the fact that Jada suffers from alopecia, a condition which causes hair loss. After slapping Rock, Will made his way back to his seat alongside his wife, where he began yelling profanities at the presenter, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth”, a visibly heated Smith exclaimed. The stars who were in attendance were in disbelief of the fiasco, such as Lupita Nyong’o, who was seated directly adjacent to the Smiths – her facial reactions to the debacle have since gone viral.
Moments after the incident, Will Smith won his first Best Actor Award for his portrayal of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams’ father, Richard Williams, in the film King Richard. During his acceptance speech, the actor broke down in tears as he apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock himself. A huge accomplishment for Will Smith lifetime of dedication and hard work could possibly remain overshowed by this viral moment for years to come.
The LAPD tweeted that they are aware of and are investigating the altercation between the two men, but they also reveal that Rock has not pressed any charges, if he does, however, they will not hesitate to take the necessary action against Smith.