Rob Schneider criticizes Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at 2022 Academy Awards

Two years following the 2022 Academy Awards, Rob Schneider, pictured, is criticizing Will Smith for slapping presenter Chris Rock at the awards show
Two years following the 2022 Academy Awards, Rob Schneider, pictured, is criticizing Will Smith for slapping presenter Chris Rock at the awards show

It’s been two years since Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards, but Rob Schneider is finally weighing in.

During a recent appearance on "The Kyle & Jackie O Show," Schneider — who is friends with Rock — was asked if he spoke to the actor-comedian following the incident at the 2022 Oscars.

"He didn't want to talk to anybody," Schneider said of Rock. "I don’t blame him. But it took him a while to get to a point where he could react to it because it was a lot. He's a very sensitive, great guy, and he’s literally a genius."

Schneider criticized Smith for striking Rock onstage during the ceremony after the “Rustin” star made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

"Will Smith has been hiding the fact of who he really is, and it was exposed that night that he's really an (expletive)," Schneider said. "It's a deep, dark thing to do that in front of all those people and to a really great, legendary comedian who's literally the best comedian of our generation."

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at Oscars: Here's what has happened since

When host Jackie O said she thought Smith was a kind person after meeting him, Schneider said the “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” star is a “liar” and an “utter fraud.”

The former “Saturday Night Live” writer added that he was allegedly prohibited from speaking out on the incident because he was a member of an Academy Awards committee that was tasked with disciplining Smith.

"That's how politically correct the Academy is, that they were so cowardly,” Schneider said, adding that the organization was “worried about being racist.” “The point is, violence is what it is. And whether the color of your skin or your religion, it doesn't matter. If you commit a crime in front of other people, you get hauled out of there."

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What happened between Will Smith, Chris Rock at 2022 Oscars?

In March 2022, Rock appeared onstage at the 94th Academy Awards to present the Oscar for best documentary feature. In his introduction, Rock joked about a possible "G.I. Jane" sequel with a reference to Pinkett Smith's bald head.

Pinkett Smith has previously opened up about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that can cause hair loss on the scalp, face or other areas of the body, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Smith appeared to first laugh at Rock's joke, though Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and looked upset. Afterward, Smith walked up to the stage, slapped Rock and returned to his seat amid confusion in the crowd about whether the segment was scripted or real.

Following the incident, the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences barred Smith from attending any Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years. Smith had resigned from the Academy a week before the disciplinary actions were announced.

What have Will Smith, Chris Rock said about 'the slap' at 2022 Oscars?

Rock did not file a formal police report against Smith, and most of his responses to the incident came as offhand remarks during his comedy shows.

However, during Rock’s 2023 Netflix stand-up special "Selective Outrage," the comedian fully addressed the controversy. "People are like, 'Did it hurt?' It still hurts! I got summertime ringing in my ears!" he said at the time. "But I'm not a victim, baby. You will never see me on Oprah, Gayle, crying."

Smith meanwhile has publicly apologized twice for the incident. His first apology came March 28, 2022, the day after the Academy Awards. In a statement, he described his behavior at the ceremony as "unacceptable and inexcusable."

In July 2022, Smith made his first on-camera apology with a YouTube video titled "It's been a minute ..." In it, Smith explained why he didn't apologize to Rock when he won best actor just minutes after the confrontation.

"I was fogged out by that point. It's all fuzzy. I've reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out," Smith said. "So, I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you."

Contributing: Angie Orellana Hernandez and Amy Haneline, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rob Schneider talks Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at Academy Awards