Will Smith & Chris Rock: Stars React to Oscars Smack

Chris Rock at Oscars 2022
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

On a night when CODA won the award for Best Picture and Ariana DeBose became the first openly gay woman of color to win an Oscar, it was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock that stole all the headlines.

Smith took to the stage after Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and slapped the comedian across the face. “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” a shocked Rock said as Smith yelled from his seat for the presenter to “keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

The reactions to the slap stunned those in the audience and those watching from home. Stars from across Hollywood took to social media to share their thoughts, with some siding with Smith for defending his wife and many others admonishing his act of violence against a comedian making a joke.

“Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia,” wrote Chicago P.D. actress Sophia Bush. “Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”

“Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers. Violent physical assault… not so much. #UgliestOscarMoment_Ever,” tweeted Star Wars actor Mark Hamill. “Will Smith owes Chris Rock a huge apology,” added director Rob Reiner. “There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris is not filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullshit.”

Adding some levity to the moment, former Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien wrote, “Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?”

“It was just a joke. Jokes are what Chris Rock does. Always has been edgy. This was a mild joke for him. And i love GI Jane,” tweeted actress Mia Farrow, while comedian Kathy Griffin worried about what precedent this could set. “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian,” Griffin said. “Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”

Will and Jada’s son, actor and rapper Jaden Smith, also shared his reaction to the incident, simply tweeting, “And That’s How We Do It.”

While Smith later apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his Best Actor acceptance speech, he did not say sorry to Rock. He also didn’t attend the backstage presser to answer questions from reporters. However, he did show up at the Vanity Fair afterparty at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, where he was apparently seen dancing to his hit record “Gettin Jiggy Wit It.”

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Plus, the Academy issues a statement about incident.

Check out more reaction below.