Will Smith’s Shocking Move at the Oscars: The True Reason Why He Slapped Chris Rock on Stage

Last year’s Academy Awards will forever be remembered for the infamous “slap heard around the world.” Will Smith, who won the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard, shocked everyone by walking onto the stage and striking presenter Chris Rock in the face. The incident resulted in Smith being banned from Academy events for 10 years, and the Oscars implemented new crisis measures for this year’s ceremony.

Although the incident is unforgettable, the circumstances that led to it and the aftermath may have been forgotten. Here is a recap of what happened that night.

During the announcement of the nominees for Best Documentary Feature, Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, comparing her to Demi Moore’s character in GI Jane. While many laughed, Pinkett Smith appeared unamused. As Smith walked on stage, he slapped Rock hard across the face, exclaiming, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.”

The crowd was initially stunned, unsure if the moment was prearranged. Rock eventually confirmed that it was not a bit, and less than 40 minutes later, Smith took to the stage again to accept his award. In his emotional speech, Smith focused on the similarities between himself and his character, Richard Williams. Later that night, Smith was filmed dancing to his own music at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

Rock chose not to press battery charges against Smith, who then sent an official resignation to the Academy five days after the incident. The Academy quickly convened a meeting with the board of governors and banned Smith from the Oscars and related events for the next decade.

In July of that year, Smith issued an apology video to Rock, which the comedian did not respond to. While the incident was controversial and shocking, it serves as a reminder that even the most glamorous events can have unexpected turns.

Will Smith: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)

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