Like many Oscar audiences, the comedian was in shock after Will Smith hit Chris Rock on stage at the Academy Awards after joking about the actor’s wife.
Presenting the award for Best Documentary, Rock joked, “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” in reference to actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Will Smith Then went on stage and hit Rock in the face.
When he returned to his seat, Smith yelled at the comedian: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Pinkett Smith, who was suffering from alopecia, had shaved her head last year. She has shared an update about her experience with the condition that causes hair loss.
The attack at the Oscars left social media stunned, with many speculating that it must have been staged or scripted. Several reporters and attendees said they believed it to be real, and the Los Angeles Police Department later said they were aware of the incident but that “the person involved has refused to file a police report.”
Some viewers initially praised Smith for defending his wife in the face of such humiliation, including Rep. Ayana Presley (D-Mass.) who has alopecia. However, he immediately deleted the message. “The View” Host Ana Navarro wrote: “For the nearly 7 million people and their loved ones who suffer from alopecia, this is no joke.”
Comedians and several late-night show hosts also joined in.
“Let me tell you something, it is very bad practice to walk on stage and physically attack comedians,” wrote Emmy-winning Kathy Griffin. “Now all we have to worry about is who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”
“The only funny thing about this is that Chris probably didn’t even write that hack joke, and my heart goes out to the poor comic writer who did!” Comedian Jenna Friedman, who has worked for “The Daily Show” and “The Late Show,” tweeted.
When Smith later won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard”, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for the incident and joked about how “art imitates life” and “Love will drive you crazy things.” He did not apologize to Rock during his speech.