Oscars 2022: Bravo to Will Smith for Slapping Chris Rock’s Bad-Taste Joke–Highlight of a Boring Show

I Say Bravo to Will Smith for Slapping Chris Rock’s Joke at his Wife

“Oscar’s ugliest moment,” tweeted actress Mia Farrow, while Tiffany Haddish praised the strike as “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen” as Hollywood weighs in on the instantly infamous Oscar moment.



Actors, producers and Academy reps reacted to The Slap Seen Around the World on Sunday night’s 2022 Oscars was disrupted by an angry Will Smith striking presenter Chris Rock on stage on Hollywood’s biggest night.

Smith stormed onstage to strike Rock after the comic made a G.I. Jane joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has shaved her head (the actress has alopecia).

Actress Mia Farrow declared the incident (video below) “Oscar’s ugliest moment,” and then added, “It was just a joke. Jokes are what Chris Rock does. Always has been edgy. This was a mild joke for him. And I love GI Jane.”

Comedian-director Judd Apatow wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “Seems like Will Smith’s plan to get comedians and the world to not make jokes about him is not going to pan out,” he wrote. “The Williams family must be furious. Pure narcissism … He could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”


Troy Kotsur Sian Heder Interpreter
Will Smith, CODA


Director Rob Reiner wrote: there was “no excuse” for Smiths’ actions and slammed the actor’s Oscar acceptance speech that attempted to justify his behavior as protecting his family. “Will Smith owes Chris Rock a huge apology. There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris is not filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullshit.”

Actress-director Sophia Bush wrote: “Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer.” Yet she also criticized Rock’s joke: “This is the second time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the Oscars stage, and tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”

Comedian Kathy Griffin, who received death threats over her infamous joke about Donald Trump, suggested Smith’s actions could put other comedians at risk: “Let me tell you something, it’s a 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.”

Journalist Maria Shriver wrote: “#WillSmith says he wants to be a vessel for love. Love is not violent. Love is not what was displayed on a global stage tonight. We should never get to a place where we sit and watch a movie star hit someone on global television then, moments later, get a standing ovation while talking about love.”

Roger Ross Williams, a Black member of the Academy’s board of governors, said after the show that he was in tears after watching the confrontation. “It reinforces stereotypes about Black people and it just hurts me to my core,” he said. “Work it out someplace else; not on the stage.”

Janai Nelson, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, wrote: “I know we’re all still processing, but the way casual violence was normalized tonight by collective national audience will have consequences that we can’t even fathom in the moment.”

That said, not every celebrity reaction was negative.

Pinkett Smith’s Girls Trip co-star Tiffany Haddish said: “When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me. As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you” … And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women.”

She continued: “That meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”


The LAPD issued a statement noting Rock has decided not to pursue a criminal complaint: “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.”

Smith said during his speech: “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment, and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a lot on all the people … and the entire cast and crew of King Richard and Venus and Serena and the entire Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams! But, love will make you do crazy things.”

In a statement to Twitter after the show, the Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form” and stressed that the night is to celebrate the winners who “deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

Former Academy president Sid Ganis sidestepped any direct criticism and praised Smith’s speech:  “I think those are two men who had a real disagreement and it’s up to them, not to the Academy, not to any of us. It’s up to those two guys to work it out. I  want to know more and what provoked it and all that. But, I did think that Will’s speech was coming from that great place, that heartfelt place. He meant every word of what he said.”

Later, at the Vanity Fair Oscar party after the ceremony, Smith was seemingly unbothered by the incident, arriving with his family for a victory lap.
He danced to his own hit songs as Pinkett Smith cheered him on, claiming, “It’s been a beautiful night.”