However, Will’s award was overshadowed and stained by him slapping comedian/actor, Chris Rock, on live television during the awards ceremony for a joke aimed at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Jada announced earlier this year she suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes your hair to come out, ultimately rendering you bald. Chris made a “G.I. Jane” joke about her starring in a sequel, referencing her now shaved head. Jada was visibly annoyed. Will proceeded to come on stage, slapped Chris, and then went back to his seat yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!”
The largely A-List celebrity audience and viewers worldwide were left stunned! Many initially thought the slap was fake and that it was some skit/inside joke between Will and Chris. It was has been surmised to be the real deal. As aforementioned Will finally became an Academy Award Winner for Best Actor in King Richard. In his acceptance speech Will apologized to The Academy but not to Chris:
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world… I’m being called on in my life to love people, and to protect people, and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse and you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you, and. you gotta smile and you gotta pretend like that’s OK.”
Smith said that Denzel Washington spoke to him about the heated moment with Rock and warned him, “Be careful. At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Finally, the Best Actor winner ended his speech with a mea culpa, though he did not publicly apologize to Rock directly. “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” he said. “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 light on all the people..the entire cast and crew of King Richard.”
“Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams,” he joked. “Love will make you do crazy things…. Thank you to the Academy, I hope you will have me back.”
Many are now wondering what consequences, if any, Smith will face for assaulting Rock. #Arrestwillsmith is currently trending on Twitter, but many are divided in their reaction to actions. Some fans praise him for seemingly defending his wife’s honor, other see it as a violent act that has stained his achievement, and still others want him locked up or sued.
This is not the first time Will or Jada have been the butt of a joke during this year’s awards season. Earlier this year at the SAGs’ red carpet, actress and trans activist, Laverne Cox, awkwardly brought up Jada’s infamous “entanglement” with singer August Alsina. Most recently, earlier in the awards show, Regina Hall, joked about Smith being single, referencing his rumored open marriage. The LAPD are reporting Chris Rock has declined to file charges against Will.
Neither of these quips garnered Will’s temper. However, because they were both women and Jada did not/does not seem to be annoyed by them, then neither is he. Nevertheless, this was neither the time or place for anything like this. Will’s actions only prove that we all mess up and make mistakes. We are sure this story is not done, we will keep you posted!
Was Will Smith wrong or did Chris Rock go too far? Sound off in the comments’ section below!