On the list of one of the oddest Academy Awards moments, Oscars 2022 viewers saw Will Smith smack Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
The unscripted moment came when, before announcing the award for Best Documentary, Rock joked "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it."
When the camera pans over to the couple, Pinkett-Smith looks to have rolled her eyes. The joke was made after Pinkett Smith publicly revealed years ago that she was diagnosed with alopecia, and has continued to discuss her hair loss since.
Smith is then seen walking up to the stage, standing in front of Rock and hits the comedian in the face.
Everyone watching at home had the sound cut for several minutes after that point, with the sound coming back just to hear Rock say, "that was the greatest night in the history of television."
UNCENSORED WILL SMITH FOOTAGE AS SHOWN ON AUSTRALIAN TV pic.twitter.com/NcRfdjWxqe
— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 28, 2022
But a clip reported to be the uncensored version shows a more serious confrontation.
"Keep my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth," we hear Smith say.
"Wow dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke," Rock responded.
As everyone was trying to figure out what was really happening, Twitter blew up about the situation:
Assault is wrong.
Alopecia is a painful experience that many Black women go through and should not be joked about.
The concept of being ‘the protector’ can be a form of toxic masculinity.
Black women are rarely protected and deserve to be protected.
— Amanda Parris (@amanda_parris) March 28, 2022
I cannot find the words to describe my love for #WillSmith right now.
— Alton Brown (@altonbrown) March 28, 2022
so upsetting - on every level - bravo to Chris Rock - for not eviscerating will smith - which he could do any day of the week - he walked away - bravo from a sad display of toxic masculinity from a narcissistic madman #Oscars2022 #chrisROCK
— ROSIE (@Rosie) March 28, 2022
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.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
Maybe another comedian would not have did a joke like that…Chris has a history of doing jokes about Jada. It came to a point tonight.. this was Will’s night that’s why he was sitting front and center .. most folks knew that so why do a cheap shot… https://t.co/ZMO4aZnEP0
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) March 28, 2022
Lol so public assault is the answer to an insensitive joke in 2022??! Good to know. I’ll be doing my next Netflix special over Zoom.
— London Hughes (@TheLondonHughes) March 28, 2022
Will Smith apologizes to Academy during Oscars acceptance speech
Shortly after the hit, Smith ended up winning the Oscar for Best Actor, for playing Richard Williams in King Richard. Smith started his acceptance speech by saying Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena 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, and I know to do what we do, you've got to be able to take abuse, you've got to be able to have people talk crazy about you.Will Smith
"In this business you've got to be able to have people disrespecting you. You've got to smile and you've got to pretend like that's OK."
Smith went on to say that he wants to be "a vessel for love" and apologized to the Academy for the incident, but not to Rock.
I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees... Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things... I hope the Academy invites me back.Will Smith
According to a Los Angeles Police Department statement to ABC News, the local police service is aware of the incident between Smith and Rock.
The Los Angeles Police Department told @ABC News it is aware of the onstage altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but no police report has been filed. https://t.co/F827hXsWGm pic.twitter.com/ITvGPCmDhr
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
"The individual involved has declined to file a police report," the statement reads. "If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report."
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences released a statement after the ceremony stating that it "does not condone violence of any form."
"Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world," the statement reads.
Will Smith dancing is troubles away
Following the awards show, videos started circulating of Will Smith dancing to his hit songs "Gettin' Jiggy With It" and "Miami" at the Vanity Fair after party, Oscar in hand.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) March 28, 2022
Smith was also seeing taking selfies and photos, alongside his wife and three children.
“It’s all about love,” the actor told Variety.