By Chris Katje
The slap heard around the world happened at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony in 2022 when actor Will Smith struck actor and comedian Chris Rock live on stage over a joke made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
With the 95th Academy Awards event happening this weekend, and a standup special continuing to rack up views on a streaming platform, the incident is back in the spotlight.
Sources say Smith was “embarrassed” and “hurt” by the jokes Rock made on the March 4 Netflix comedy special.
“Will is embarrassed and hurt by what Chris said about him and his family in his Netflix special,” a source told Entertainment Tonight. “He didn’t watch it, but he had people tell him what Chris said.”
A comedy tour by Rock saw strong ticket sales leading up to the Netflix special. Among the jokes made:
- “I got smacked like a year ago, and people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears,” Rock said, poking fun at a Smith hit with DJ Jazzy Jeff.
- Rock said he took the slap like boxer Manny Pacquiao.
- “We’ve all been cheated on. Everybody in here has been cheated on. None of us has ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us…on television. She hurt him way more than he hurt me,” Rock said, alluding to an affair Pinkett Smith had and discussed openly with Smith on an episode of “Red Table Talk.”
- “Everybody in the world called him a b****. I tried to call that man and give him my condolences. He didn’t pick up for me.”
- The comedian shared that there could have been bad blood with Pinkett Smith dating back to 2016, when the actress suggested boycotting the 88th Oscars due to a lack of diversity (Rock poked fun at Pinkett Smith at that year’s event, too).
- “I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life,” Rock said. “I root for this motherf*****. And now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whooped.”
The source said Smith and Pinkett Smith have both seen comments about the special, as reported by the New York Post.
“Will apologized to Chris and would like for Chris to let it go,” the source said, adding that Smith considers airing the special from Rock featuring jokes about the event as “distasteful.”
The 95th Academy Awards are set to air on ABC Sunday, March 12. The award show has put in place several precautionary items to prevent a slap from happening on stage again. A “crisis team” has been added for the event.
Rock later said that Pinket Smith he should quit the Oscars during the comedy performance.
“Years ago, his wife said I should quit the Oscars — I shouldn’t host ’cause her man didn’t get nominated for Emancipation, the biggest piece of s— ever!” Rock said in the special. Realizing his mistake, he corrected himself: “No, not Emancipation. I f—ed up the joke.”
Smith will be watching it from home or not watching at all, as he is currently banned from the annual award ceremony for 10 years.
Show host Jimmy Kimmel said he would “beat the s*** out of” anyone who does anything to disrupt the show.
Produced in association with Benzinga
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