Will Smith Appears to Hit Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars: What Really Happened?

Will Smith and Chris Rock

Getty Will Smith appears to hit Chris Rock during the 94th Oscars.

Viewers were left scratching their heads after Will Smith appeared to hit Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars.

Rock appeared onstage at the 94th Academy Awards to present the award for “Best Documentary Feature.” During a comedy bit, he joked that Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith was going to appear in “G.I. Jane II,” seemingly referencing her baldness.

The 1997 film “G.I. Jane” saw actress Demi Moore shave her head while training to join the U.S. Navy.

Smith, who went on to win the “Best Actor” award, appeared to laugh off the joke before walking on stage and seemingly hitting Rock.

Despite the moment being bleeped in the United States, foreign broadcasts saw the moment unedited. A clip of the moment was shared on Instagram by Amanda Hirsch, the host of the “Not Skinny But Not Fat” podcast.

“Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” Rock stated as Smith walked away. He went on to add, “Wow dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke.”

Smith repeatedly responded, “Keep my wife’s name out your f****** mouth.”

“I’m going to, okay,” he added. “Okay, that was the greatest night in the history of television. So we are here to give a documentary out.”

Pinkett Smith Has Been Open About Her Alopecia

The joke may have struck a nerve for Pinkett Smith who has been open about her alopecia.

The “Girls Trip” actress discussed her hair loss in a December 2021 video on Instagram.

“At this point, I can only laugh. Y’all know I’ve been struggling with Alopecia and just all of a sudden, one day, look at this line,” she said in the clip, focusing on a bald line that appeared on her head.

She captioned the post, “Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period.”

Was the Slap Real?

While actress Lupita Nyong’o, who was seated behind Smith and Pinkett Smith, appeared to be shocked, many on Twitter were left guessing if the altercation was real.

The celebrity gossip account Deux Moi shared unverified accounts of the night from their followers.

“I know someone working at the Oscar’s right now and the slap was very very very real,” read one message. “People behind the scenes are freaking out because he’s still nominated later in the night and don’t know how this is going to play out.”

Another account read, “In regards to Will Smith punching Chris rock at the Oscars, I assume you have seen the clips already. This is from a friend who was there: ‘I was there when it happened… It was… awkward. Denzel [Washington] came over to Will Smith and gave him a stern talking to about his behavior and use of language during the next commercial break.”

Smith referenced Washington’s comments to him during his acceptance speech, saying, “Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, he said, ‘At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.’”

In photos shared by Elvis Duran, actor Bradley Cooper can also be seen speaking with Smith.

Smith Apologized During His Acceptance Speech

Smith apologized when he took the stage to accept his “Best Actor” award, though he never references Rock.

“I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to my fellow nominees,” Billboard quoted Smith, who was tearing up. “This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people … Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father just like they said … just like they said about Richard Williams. Love will make you do crazy things.”

The rapper concluded his speech, “Thank you, I’m hoping the Academy invites me back.”

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