Skip to main content
Hamburger Menu Close



Will Smith smacks Chris Rock on stage, then apologises upon winning Oscar

Rock made a joke about the hairstyle of Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith that referenced the movie GI Jane in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.

Best actor nominee Will Smith smacked presenter Chris Rock in the face with an open hand and shouted a vulgarity at the comedian for making a joke about his wife's appearance at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday (Mar 27, Mar 28 Singapore time).

Minutes later, when accepting the Oscar for best actor for his role in King Richard, Smith apologised to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his fellow nominees but not to Rock.

The episode with Rock at first appeared to be a scripted joke but turned serious when Smith shouted out, "Keep my wife's name out of your f****** mouth."

The audio from the show, broadcast on a time-delay of a few seconds in the United States, appeared to have been cut from the live transmission for many viewers because of the language.

Rock was roasting some of the nominees and, after mentioning Smith, said of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, "Jada, I love you. GI Jane II, can't wait to see it."

Moments later, Smith walked on stage toward Rock, who had his hands behind his back when Smith threw an open hand at his face that produced an audible smack.

"Oh, wow! Wow! Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me," Rock said as the audience laughed, thinking it was a skit. "Wow, dude. It was a GI Jane joke," referencing the 1997 film GI Jane in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.

Smith then made what may become one of the most repeated phrases of Oscar history when he said, "Keep my wife's name out of your f****** mouth."

Rock responded, "I'm going to. That's the greatest night in the history of television."

Smith then repeated his phrase, louder and more deliberately.

Jada Pinkett Smith told Billboard in December she has been battling the autoimmune disorder alopecia, which can cause hair loss and balding.

The audience initially thought Smith's indignation was feigned, part of the act. It was only after he returned to his seat and shouted that the audience went silent and audibly gasped. Many people in the mezzanine stood up and craned their heads to try to catch a glimpse.

A few minutes after the incident, rapper Sean Combs – on stage to introduce a tribute to The Godfather – had tried to play peacemaker and suggested Smith and Rock settle their differences at an Oscars afterparty. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family at the Gold party,” Combs said.

The moment shocked the Dolby Theatre audience and viewers at home. At the commercial break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya came up to to hug Smith, and Denzel Washington escorted him to the side of the stage. The two talked and hugged and Tyler Perry came over to talk as well.

Smith won the Oscar for playing Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. Upon accepting his award, Smith apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees but not to Rock.

"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family," Smith said. And the last thing he said before he took his seat was: "I hope the Academy invites me back."

Source: Agencies/mm