Chris Rock declined to press charges against Will Smith after the Oscar-winning actor “smacked the s***” out of him during the 2022 Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles tonight.
Variety obtained a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department that reads: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. 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.”
While presenting the Best Documentary Feature award at tonight’s Academy Awards, the comedian Chris Rock ad-libbed a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “Jada, I love you,” Rock said. “G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”
Will Smith initially laughed at the joke, but his wife Jada — who suffers from alopecia, and therefore keeps her hair closely cropped — rolled her eyes, seeming slightly aghast at being compared to the infamous Demi Moore flop. As the camera cut back to Rock, he laughed at his own joke, saying to no one in particular “That was a nice one.” He kept laughing, until Will Smith strode defiantly on stage and struck Rock with an open hand. “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” Rock said, before things escalated even further, with Smith bellowing “Keep my wife’s name out of your FUCKING mouth!” so loudly that the entire Dolby Theater fell silent.
American TV audiences only caught portions of this due to the fast fingers of ABC’s censors, but Japanese audiences were privy to the whole encounter.
Despite attacking Rock, Smith was allowed to stay in the theater for the rest of the ceremony, later accepting an Academy Award (his first) for Best Actor. During Smith’s impassioned acceptance speech, he explained that playing the role of Richard Williams in King Richard taught him to be a “fierce defender” of his family. Later in the speech, he apologized to the Academy for his actions, but did not mention Rock directly by name, nor did he apologize to him.
Neither Chris Rock nor Jada Pinkett Smith has yet to make a public statement about the incident, but Smith’s son Jaden had this to say about the incident on Twitter: