Will Smith and Chris Rock’s onstage brawl at the Oscars on Sunday was the highlight of the 94th annual awards show, drawing a barrage of emotions from the astonished audience inside the Dolby Theatre to televised viewers to celebrities, including standup comedians and Hollywood stars.
Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, when he referred to her as “G.I. Jane,” prompting Smith to take the stage. In response to the joke, Pinkett Smith was spotted rolling her eyes. (The actress has also been candid about her baldness, which she was diagnosed with a few years ago.)
Soon after Rock’s joke, the King Richard star, who later apologized to the Academy during his Best Actor acceptance speech and alluded to the altercation, could be seen yelling at Rock once he returned to his seat: “Leave my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”
The tense exchange between Smith and Rock elicited a mixed response on social media, as it overshadowed the rest of the night. While some people backed Smith, others were outraged that he went so far.
Will Packer, the Oscars producer, came to Twitter after the program to react to a memorable awards show, ostensibly referencing to the Smith-Rock brawl: “Welp…I said it wouldn’t be boring.”
Welp…I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars— Will Packer (@willpowerpacker) March 28, 2022
Smith’s slap enraged stand-up comedians, who claimed it created a dangerous door for future hecklers or people dissatisfied with a joke. Kathy Griffin reacted to the situation with a tweet, “Let me tell you something it’s very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”
Below are some of the reactions from some celebrities
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian.— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) March 28, 2022
WENT OUT OF RM— Cher (@cher) March 28, 2022
& MISSED REASON FOR
WILL’S PUNCH..JUST SAW IT, BUT STILL NOT SURE
Will Smith slapping Chris Rock is straight people’s Adele Dazeem.— Joel Kim Booster (@ihatejoelkim) March 28, 2022
Bro. Don’t clown a black man’s wife. Period.— Prentice Penny (aka Charcuterie Papi) (@The_A_Prentice) March 28, 2022
Tonight was supposed to be a triumph for Gen-X Hip-hop. Will Smith won an Oscar over Denzel at the height of D's power. Questlove and Jazzbo won Oscars. D-Nice is DJing and Will Packer hip-hop filmmaker produced it. Beyonce, Puff, Jay and Latifah there. All upstaged by The Slap.— Cheo Hodari Coker (@cheo_coker) March 28, 2022
Listen, y’all think that because someone plays a character that’s relatable or warm and fuzzy, that’s how they are in real life. A further reminder, you don’t know anyone that is famous.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 28, 2022
I mean the hit was definitely less Philly and more Bel Air— devon sawa (@DevonESawa) March 28, 2022
I think there’s going to be a lot of think pieces written about tonight. Lots of justifications and excuses for behaviors on both sides. I even made a joke about it that I now regret. Bottom line – when in doubt – or on the world’s stage – choose kindness. Be the example.— Austin Winsberg (@austinwinsberg) March 28, 2022