Chris Rock Declines to press charges Against Will Smith After Oscars Slap
It was the slap heard ’round the world.
Comedian Chris Rock declined to press charges against Will Smith after the actor slapped him in the face at the Oscars, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said.
The altercation between the two occurred after Rock, who took to the stage to present the award for Best Documentary, made a joke aimed at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock quipped, taking note of Pinkett Smith’s buzz cut. The camera cut to her rolling her eyes, and the quickly moved back to Rock, just in time to show Smith storming the stage and forcefully slapping Rock in the face before returning to his seat.
Pinkett Smith has been open about her journey with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. She shaved her head last summer as a result of the diagnosis.
American television stations muted the altercation, leading many to believe that the event was staged. “What just happened” and “Was that real” both trended on Twitter immediately following the altercation. However, many non-U.S. stations failed to mute on time, showing the situation in full: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Smith shouted twice.
VIA JAPANESE TELEVISION: The uncensored exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock pic.twitter.com/j0Z184ZyXa
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 28, 2022
After being slapped, Rock continued on, announcing that “Summer of Love,” the film by Questlove, won for Best Documentary. When the Oscars cut to a commercial break, Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry appeared to rush to try to calm Smith down.
Smith went on to win Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in “King Richard,” noting how “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.” He also shared what Washington told him during the break: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.” He apologized to the Academy, but not to Rock.
On Monday, the Academy seemingly responded to the altercation via Twitter.
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
After the show, many people online wondered whether Rock would be pressing charges against Smith for the very public assault.
“The incident involved one individual slapping another,” said the LAPD on Monday morning. “The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”