Will Smith is the big story of the 2022 Oscars — not for winning his first Oscar for King Richard — but for hitting comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife Jada while presenting an award.
Smith stormed the stage and hit Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, just minutes before Smith was named best actor at the ceremony.
The Magic Mike XXL star has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.
Read more: Will Smith hits Chris Rock over Oscars joke
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”, prompting the actress to roll her eyes.
After the shocking incident, fans of the Smiths began circulating a previous occasion where Chris Rock had publicly dissed Jada at the 2016 Oscars while he was the main host.
During the stand-up star’s blistering opening monologue, he took aim at the Gotham star’s decision to boycott the event over the diversity row.
“Jada said she’s not coming,” said Rock.
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“I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!”
Watch: Will Smith hits Chris Rock
Responding to her Madagascar co-star in an interview after the 2016 ceremony, Jada said: “It comes with the territory, sweetheart.
“Hey look, it comes with the territory but we gotta keep it moving. We gotta keep it moving. We gotta keep it moving.
“There’s a lot of stuff we gotta handle, a lot of stuff in our world right now. We gotta keep it moving.”
The altercation at the 2022 Oscars left Rock shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.
The incident cast a cloud over Smith’s acceptance speech for his first ever Oscar, after he was named best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.
Smith apologised to both the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected his gong, joking that he “looks like the crazy father.”
Breaking down in tears, he said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.
“In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”
He added: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.
“I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.
“You’ve got to be able have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.”