Steve Harvey calls Will Smith slapping Chris Rock a 'punk move': 'I lost a lot of respect for him'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

Steve Harvey believes Will Smith's slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars was a "punk move," that he only did because he knew no one would stop him during the live broadcast.

"I lost a lot of respect for him," Harvey told an audience of a few dozen law students and more than 100 others who came to hear him speak at Georgia State University on April 25, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that's now making national headlines.

"I'm a Christian but I'm really undeveloped. I don't have high-level Christianity. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm like a 2," the Judge Steve Harvey star, whose legal documents had been examined by the students as part of their curriculum for the semester, said. "That's the level of Christianity I can work on. You slap [Pastor] T.D. Jakes, he'll turn the other cheek. You slap me? If you sit back in your seat, Jada [Pinkett Smith] would have to move out of the way. That's the type of Christian I am."

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Smith infamously slapped Rock, who was presenting an award, after he joked about Smith's wife having a shaved head. Pinkett Smith struggles with alopecia, although it was unclear if Rock was aware of that before he made the crack.

Since the contentious moment, Smith has apologized to Rock and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the awards. Last month, he resigned from the organization, just before officials decided to ban him from academy events for the next 10 years. However, they allowed him to keep the Best Actor award that he won moments after striking Rock for his work in King Richard, playing the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

Since the incident occurred, everyone from Oscar co-hosts Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, to Smith and Rock's mothers, to Terry Crews, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, DJ Jazzy Jeff and many others have weighed in on it.

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