Comedian Chris Rock will not take police against being slapped in the face by Will Smith in the most jaw-dropping moment in the 94-year history of the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022.
Los Angeles Police Department released a statement about the incident after the show confirming Rock, 57, would have to make a complaint for an investigation to take place.
‘LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,’ the LAPD said in a press release after the show ended on Sunday, March 27, 2022.
‘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, 53, could still face a misdemeanor charge for battery should Rock have a change of heart.
The slapping incident occurred after Rock cracked a joke about the ‘GI Jane’ haircut of Jada Pinkett Smith, 50, who has alopecia. The shocking scene, broadcast live around the world, stunned both the live audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and TV viewers.
After Smith strode out on stage and slapped Rock with an open right hand, Rock staggered and exclaimed, ‘Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me.’
Smith, visibly emotional, walked back to his seat in the audience and shouted: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.’
The exchange was muted on a delayed telecast in much of the US, but was aired in full to some international audiences.
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: ‘Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2’, prompting the actress to roll her eyes. Pinkett Smith has been grappling with hair loss since revealing her alopecia diagnosis in 2018.
After being slapped, Rock appeared shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.
‘That was the greatest night in the history of television,’ Rock said, before awkwardly reading the Oscar nominees, an award that went to Questlove’s ‘Summer of Soul (…or When the Revolution Was Not Televised).’
Vanity Fair executive editor Ramin Setoodeh, who was tweeting live from the ceremony, said that someone who works for the Oscars told him that Rock was not interrupted by Smith at rehearsals yesterday.
‘It was not supposed to happen. It was real,’ he wrote.
After the slap seen round the world, Smith was seen being comforted and consoled by Denzel Washington and actor-producer Tyler Perry.
Bradley Cooper also pulled Smith aside and was seen in close conversation with him.
Setoodeh, watching from inside the theater, said that Smith’s publicist approached him and spoke to him during a commercial break.
It’s not the first time the movie star has been antagonized by the comedian, with a feud between the pair brewing over the past five years thanks to repeated jokes made at Will’s expense.
When hosting the Oscars back in 2016, Chris got himself into trouble with the actor when he used Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith as joke material in his opening monologue.
In an opening bit about diversity, Chris, 57, poked fun at Jada, 50, for boycotting the Oscars when Will failed to receive a nomination for the movie Concussion.
‘Jada got mad, said she’s not coming. Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited,’ Chris said.
‘You get mad. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.’
‘This year at the Oscars, things are going to be a little different. In the ‘in memoriam’ package it’s just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on their way to the movies. Yes, I said it, all right?’
Smith, who .s Venus and Serena Williams’ father in ‘King Richard,’ later in the show won best actor, his first Oscar.
It meant Smith again took the stage shortly after what seemed likely to be one of the most infamous moments in Academy Awards history.
Smith’s acceptance speech vacillated between defense and apology.
‘Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,’ Smith said in his first remarks. ‘In this time in my life, in this moment I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do.’
He continued: ‘I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.’
Smith shared what Washington told him: ‘At your highest moment, be careful because that’s when the devil comes for you.’
Ultimately, Smith apologized to the academy and to his fellow nominees.
‘Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father,’ said Smith. ‘But love will make you do crazy things.’
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