Will Smith stormed the Oscars stage and struck comedian Chris Rock across the face for joking about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, in a moment at Sunday’s gala that immediately went viral and left viewers stunned and questioning whether it was scripted or genuine.
Rock, presenting the best documentary prize with a short comedy routine, had cracked a joke comparing Jada’s tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore’s appearance in the film “G.I. Jane” and suggesting she appear in a sequel.
In a moment that triggered awkward silence and confusion in the Dolby Theatre, Smith strode up to Rock and slapped him, before returning to his seat alongside Jada and shouting profanities.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f******* mouth,” yelled Smith.
Pinkett-Smith suffers from alopecia, and publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2018.
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, a tearful Smith needed to be “pulled aside and comforted” by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry during a commercial break.
“Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family. Right now we’re moving on with love,” said Sean “Diddy” Combs.