Oscars 2022: Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock After Comedian Makes Dig at Jada Pinkett Smith

Things at the 2022 Oscars got heated when Will Smith confronted Chris Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

By Gabrielle Chung Mar 28, 2022 2:53 AMTags
Watch: Will Smith SLAPS Chris Rock at Oscars 2022

Don't mess with Will Smith.

Chris Rock learned that lesson during the Oscars 2022 ceremony on Sunday, March 27, when the King Richard star confronted him onstage after he had made a dig at Jada Pinkett Smith, who struggles with alopecia. The heated exchange came after Rock, 57, made a reference to Pinkett Smith's shaved head, joking, "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it, all right?"

As the audience fell silent, Rock quipped, "That was a nice one, okay?"

Smith, 53, then marched to the stage and appeared to slap the comedian in the face. When he returned to his seat, Rock quipped, "Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s--t out of me!"

However, the spat didn't end there. Smith then screamed back at Rock, "Keep my wife's name out of your f--king mouth."

"Wow, dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke," Rock replied, to which the actor yelled at him again: "Yes, keep my wife's name out of your f--king mouth!"

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See the Winners of the 2022 Oscars

The Saturday Night Live alum then assured Smith that he's "going to" before segueing to the Best Documentary segment. He told the audience, "That was a greatest night in the history of television."

An eyewitness told E! News that several celebrities—including Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry and Lupita Nyong'o—went to comfort the couple following the incident. 

 

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"It seemed like everyone was in shock," the ceremony insider shared. "It felt like no one could believe if it was real or not."

Another eyewitness said, "People were coming over to Jada and hugging her," adding that someone in the audience was "pep talking" Smith during a commercial break.

In video captured by The Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg, Smith appeared to wipe something from his eye after speaking with guests. He was then approached by Bradley Cooper, who wrapped his arms around the actor during their conversation.

Later that evening, Smith apologized for his outburst while accepting the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in King Richard, in which he portrayed Venus and Serena Williams' father, tennis coach Richard Williams. "I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees," Smith said with tears in his eyes. "This is a beautiful moment and I'm not crying for winning an award, it's not about winning an award for me."

"Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father," he added. "Love will make you do crazy things."

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Smith married Pinkett Smith in 1997. The couple share two children together: son Jaden, 23, and daughter Willow, 21.

Sunday's incident was not the first time Rock cracked a joke about the Smiths at the Oscars. When the comic hosted the Academy Awards in 2016, he poked fun at Pinkett Smith for boycotting the ceremony that year due to a lack of diversity, telling the audience during his opening monologue, "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties—I wasn't invited."

At the time, Rock also made a joke about how "it's not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West."

Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggle with hair loss, sharing in a May 2018 episode of her Facebook Watch series Red Talk Talk that it was "terrifying when it first started."

"I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, 'Oh my god, am I going bald?'" she recalled. "It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear...That's why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it."

E! News has reached out to reps for Rock, Smith and the Academy for comment.

Check out E! News' Oscars blog for a full recap of the 2023 Academy Awards.