Why Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars 2022 – The Backstory

In addition to the fanfare, glamorous outfits, and Oscar-winning reactions, a few other Academy award moments will remain etched in our minds. Jennifer Lawrence taking a tumble on the stairs, ‘La La Land’ announced as winners of Oscar for best picture instead of ‘Moonlight’, and now Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 ceremony.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjEoDypUD8&w=853&h=480]

Will Smith, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his onscreen performance of Richard Williams in the biographical drama ‘King Richard’ (2021), also made headlines for slapping actor and comedian Chris Rock. Chris Rock jokingly addressed Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved hair look, saying “Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it”. This did not sit well with her husband, Will Smith, who made his way onto the stage and whacked Chris Rock in the face.

‘G.I. Jane’ is a drama film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Demi Moore that was released in 1997. Demi Moore had a military-style buzz look appearance in the film.


Back seated at his table, Will Smith yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth”. Smith was visibly upset, and his actions were in defense of his wife, who has openly embraced her hair loss due to alopecia. Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair to fall off one’s scalp in patches.

Host Amy Schumer relieved the tension post the incident, “I’ve been getting out of the Spider-Man costume, did I miss anything? There’s, like, a different vibe in here probably not. Well, anyway!” For comedians and stand-up performers, this is an unwelcome incident. Making light of issues sometimes results in them being heckled and even attacked during their performances.

Will Smith praised actor Denzel Washington’s words of wisdom after the incident during his award speech, saying “at your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you”. Teary-eyed and remorseful, Smith also said in his speech that he felt “overwhelmed by what God is calling him to do and be in this world”. He concluded by saying, “Love will make you do crazy things” while thanking tennis players Venus and Serena Williams for trusting him with their story. Notably, he did not apologize to Chris Rock in the speech. He did, however, apologize to the academy and fellow nominees hoping the academy would invite him back to the next event.

This drama distracted audiences and viewers from Chris Rock’s intended presentation, to announce the winner of Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature. The winner was Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson’s ‘Summer of Soul’ (2021), a documentary film is about the Harlem Cultural Festival, which took place in 1969. It featured the likes of artist Nina Simone, B.B King, and Stevie Wonder. It has been tagged as ‘Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)’.

Interestingly, both award winners of the evening, Will Smith and Questlove, hail from the city of Philadelphia.


As reported by ABC News on their official Instagram, at the time of writing, there has been no police report filed regarding the shocking incident. Chris Rock also comically mentioned both Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith during his Oscars monologue in 2016, referring to her decision to boycott the event.


Soon after the event, the official account of The Academy released their statement not condoning violence of any form at the ceremony.

Meanwhile, it surely left the rest of us like this:


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Feature Image Via BBC.

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