By Marisol Bo-oc |12:58 PM March 28, 2022
Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, which did not appear to go over well with her husband Will Smith.
While presenting the award for best documentary, Rock joked, “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”
The camera cut to Pinkett Smith, who rolled her eyes as she sat next to Smith.
“That was a nice one,” Rock said, appearing to respond to the joke not going over well.
Pinkett Smith has been open about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss.
Rock then said, “Oh uh,” and laughed as Smith walked toward him on stage and appeared to strike Rock in the face.
According to CNN reporter Stephanie Elam, who is in the audience, she could hear Rock getting hit. Smith said twice during the incident, according to Elam, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”
Rock responded: “Oh, wow.”
For viewers at home, censors muted the verbal part of the exchange between Rock and Smith.
The theater went silent and Rock said, “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
In his acceptance speech for best actor Sunday night, Will Smith apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees after the buoyant spirit of the 94th Academy Awards was rocked by an unbelievable exchange between him and comedian Chris Rock.
During his presentation of best documentary feature nominees, Rock joked to Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, that he was looking forward to a sequel to “G.I. Jane.”
Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that attacks hair follicles, opened up about her hair loss journey on Instagram in December.
Smith stood up from his seat near the stage Sunday night, strode up to Rock and slapped him. After sitting back down, Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.”
The moment shocked the Dolby Theatre audience and viewers at home.
“That was the greatest night in the history of television,” Rock said, before awkwardly returning to presenting best documentary, which went to Questlove’s “Summer of Soul (…or When the Revolution Was Not Televised).”
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.
When the best actor was announced, the teary-eyed “King Richard” star shared some of what Washington told him offstage.
“He said, ‘At your highest moment, be careful because that’s when the devil comes for you,'” Smith said.
Smith said he wanted to be a vessel for love, in spite of the angry display earlier in the evening.
“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father,” Smith said. “But love will make you do crazy things.”
Up until that moment, the show had been running fairly smoothly. Ariana DeBose became the first Afro-Latina to win an Academy Award for supporting actress, while Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor to win an acting award since his “CODA” co-star Marlee Matlin in 1987.
“Hopefully the academy invites me back,” Smith said, in conclusion. With reports from CNN, Associated Press and USA Today