The 94th Oscars were a night to remember. On Sunday, March 27th, celebrities gathered at the Dolby Theater to celebrate the best films of the year. What started as a typical night took a dramatic turn when Chris Rock went on stage. The comedian was there to announce the winner for Best Documentary Feature — which Questlove won, for his film Summer of Soul — but before he did so, Rock cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith and was promptly slapped across the face by her husband, Will Smith, on live television.
Rocks’ joke compared Jada to G.I. Jane, because the actress recently shaved her head due to her ongoing battle with alopecia. After noticing his wife was visibly upset, Smith walked on stage and struck the comedian. Then he sat down and yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out your f**king mouth,” as the rest of the audience watched in shock.
Smith has since apologized to the academy and his peers during his acceptance speech for Best Actor, and apologized directly to Rock via Instagram stories on Tuesday. Jada also took to Instagram and posted a photo of text that read, “This is the season for healing and I’m here for it.”
The couple's son, actor and rapper Jaden Smith, had a less gentle bipartisan stance. Moments after the slap occurred, he tweeted “and that’s how we do it.” Their daughter, Willow Smith, has yet to comment.
Since the jaw-dropping interaction took place, celebrities have chimed in to provide their two cents on the matter. Several Hollywood figures have weighed in on the controversy and received their own immediate backlash, but comments by Zoë Kravitz have by far gone the most viral. The Batman star posted two photos of herself from the evening, with variations on the caption: “and here is a picture of my dress at the party after the award show -where we are apparently screaming profanities and assaulting people on stage now.”
Kravitz was then called out on Twitter for not only the comment she made, but for resurfaced past behavior, including her seeming to flirt with a then 14-year-old Jaden Smith, when she was at least ten years older than him.
Read on for the reactions from other celebrities on The Slap:
Comedian Judd Apatow released a tweet claiming Smith “could have killed him.” Apatow's message has been deleted, but it read, “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 freshmen in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”
- “I think we can all agree that the best way to unpack what happened is to stream my series @lifeandbethhulu and see me on tour this fall. But for real. Still triggered and traumatized. I love my friend @chrisrock and believe he handled it like a pro. Stayed up there and gave an Oscar to his friend @questlove and the whole thing was so disturbing. So much pain in @willsmith anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad. Im proud of myself and my cohosts. But yeah. Waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed.
- Wtaf???? That wasn’t scripted ????
- 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.
- What a very west Philly Oscars
- I’m not reading much about how, or even if the producers attended to Chris. But I love you @chrisrock. And I’m sorry the Oscars turned into the Jerry Springer show.
- "I would have announced this morning that I was suing Will for 200 million dollars. That video is going to be there forever, it's going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time."
- Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?
- 'I believe whatever he felt that he did, he had the right to do. I had to leave my chair. I'll be honest with you, it cut me really deep.'
- B!tch don’t you ever play with me. LOL
- “What was that”
- I love Chris Rock. I don’t think he would’ve made that joke had he known what Jada recently shared- but between him & the whole team @ the #Oscars you mean to tell me not ONE of y’all heard this woman just share this heartbreaking story? #ComeOnSon …
- You just got to witness in real time what happens in a man’s soul when he looks over to the woman he loves & sees her holding back tears from a “little joke” at her expense. This is what any & every real man feels in that instant. while y’all seeing the joke he’s seeing her pain
Meanwhile, other actors provided their perspective on the incident.
- Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris ha s made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & 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.
- Will Smith said “Not Today”. A man big enough to absolutely floor him, slapped him softly enough that Chris barely moved, because he made fun of his wife’s alopecia on a world stage. Don’t say #protectBlackwomen for two years and then only condemn Will here. Come on…
- 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
- "I thought, he's from West Philly, just like I'm from West Philly. We're very passionate people.
Finally, Serena Williams responded exactly how we did at home. With pure shock.
- Stares blankly at the screen