The talk of the town following the Academy Awards this year wasn’t deciding who were the best and worst dressed celebs or which jokes the hosts delivered were the funniest. Instead, it was the incident involving actor Will Smith and Chris Rock, following one of Rock’s jokes onstage, that upset Will’s wife.
He landed a jab at Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, over the fact she was bald, suggesting she’d be starring in GI Jane 2. While it had some people laughing, including Will at first, things turned ugly as the Best Actor nominee walked up to the stage and proceeded to smack Chris Rock in the face.
While the censors stepped in during the live telecast, uncensored video of the event reveals Will delivering some choice words for the comedian from his seat. That incident claimed much of the spotlight on what is typically a night of recognizing outstanding performances.
Meanwhile, Rock’s joke about Jada during the ceremony wasn’t the first time he’s joked about Will Smith or his wife.
Chris Rock made jokes about Will and Jada in 2016
In 2016, actor and comedian Chris Rock hosted the 88th Academy Awards and delivered a monologue full of jokes about various topics. He mentioned that people were telling him to protest the event by refusing to host or quitting.
There was controversy with the 2016 Oscars because no Black nominees appeared in the various categories. Rock brought up how many celebrities were getting mad about this, including Spike Lee, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
“What happened this year? People went mad. You know? Spike got mad…Jada got mad, and Will went mad. Everybody went mad. It’s crazy. Like Jada got mad? Jada said she’s not coming. Protesting. I’m like, isn’t she on a TV show? Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars. Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited,” Rock said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Rock then continued, mentioning he understood Jada’s mad since her man Will wasn’t nominated for an award for his performance in the movie Concussion that year.
“It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated,” Rock said, adding, “It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.”
Rock’s 2022 Oscars included another Jada joke
Fast forward to the 2022 Oscars, and Chris Rock was back on stage, but this time as one of the presenters at the ceremony. He cracked several jokes during his time on stage, including one about Jada Pinkett Smith.
“Jada, I love you,” Rock said, pointing to her in the crowd. “GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”
That brought laughter from plenty of people in the audience, including Will Smith. However, Jada had a look on her face that indicated she wasn’t amused by what Rock said.
This was likely because Jada was diagnosed years ago with Alopecia, which causes hair loss. She’s been working to empower others with the condition by sharing how she’s embracing her struggle with losing hair as she went completely bald.
Shortly after the camera showed Smith laughing at Rock’s joke, it was clear that he realized his wife wasn’t happy with the remark.
Chris Rock pointed out that Will was coming up on stage. Smith then walked up to Rock and smacked him in the face before returning to his seat in the audience.
“Wow! Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me,” a surprised Rock said.
That had audience members clapping and laughing as they thought it was part of a bit for the show. However, Smith began yelling at the comedian from his seat, and the censors silenced a portion of the telecast.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!” Smith yelled at Rock several times in uncensored footage.
Rock didn’t fuel the fire any further with follow-up jokes about Will or Jada and continued his job as a presenter. Later in the evening, Smith claimed Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard and delivered an emotional speech about what it meant to him.
His speech, which saw the actor choking back tears, included him thanking others and apologizing to the Academy, although there were no apologies for Chris Rock. Smith also said he hoped the Academy would invite him back in the future.
Following the event, Rock refused to press charges against Smith for the incident. The Academy also issued a statement after the event in which they indicated they don’t condone violence during the ceremony.