Even though the slap was over a year ago, what happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock on the Academy Awards stage is still a hot topic. The latest to weigh in on the slap was Sean Penn, who is a two-time Oscar winner himself. As he shared his thoughts on Will Smith and how the situation was handled, he got very passionate and dropped a few f-bombs during his explanation.
Sean Penn – whose documentary about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Superpower is about to premiere on the 2023 movie schedule – was livid when the Academy didn’t let the president speak during the ceremony in 2022, which took place not long after Russia invaded Ukraine. While speaking with Variety, he passionately talked about how an Oscars producer apparently didn’t want Zelenskyy to speak because “he’s not light-hearted enough.” That sentiment was followed by Penn saying:
Well guess what we got instead? Will Smith!
This then led to Penn popping off about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock and then winning an Oscar not long after. According to the article, the Milk star was so fed up that the writer could see a vein in his neck tightening. He went on to give his two cents on the slap, saying:
I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once. He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so fucking good in King Richard.’ So why the fuck did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid fucking thing? Why did I go to fucking jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?
The two-time Oscar winner then tied his complaint back to his explanation of why Volodymyr Zelenskyy wasn’t able to speak at the ceremony, saying:
This fucking bullshit wouldn’t have happened with Zelenskyy. Will Smith would never have left that chair to be part of stupid violence. It never would have happened.
Penn then explained to the writer that the slap made him so angry, that he wanted to destroy his Oscars, which he won for 2003’s Mystic River and 2008’s Milk. He said:
I thought, well, fuck, you know? I’ll give them to Ukraine. They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Sean Penn has spent a lot of time working to help Ukrainians. He’s also become close with Zelenskyy, and the documentary about the president and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Superpower, is set to premiere on September 18 for those with a Paramount+ subscription. Considering how tight the actor is with the president, it makes sense that he was upset when the leader wasn’t able to speak at the Academy Awards in 2022.
Following, the slap at this ceremony, many spoke out about Will Smith’s actions and how the Academy dealt with it. In the months following the moment, the King Richard star was banned from the Oscars. He also issued an apology to Chris Rock on social media, and he resigned from The Academy.
To this day, the slap is still highly talked about, and it is one of the most infamous moments in Academy Awards history. If more people, like Sean Penn, speak out about it and share their thoughts on how the situation was handled, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.