How the Oscars Are Addressing Will Smith and Chris Rock’s Slap Incident 1 Year Later


It’s been one year since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for making a cruel joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her buzz cut at the 2022 Oscars, and yet we’re still talking about it. Host Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time joking about the now-infamous incident when he delivered his opening monologue at the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

After stating that five Irish actors were nominated at the ceremony, which meant the odds of another fight happening on stage were “way up,” Kimmel went on to discuss the “strict polices” the Oscars have in place this year. “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech,” Kimmel joked. “And if any of you get mad at a joke and decide you want to get up here and get jiggy with it, it’s not going to be easy. There are a few of my friends you’re going to have to get through first.” The host then referenced characters portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, Michelle Yeoh, Pedro Pascal, and Andrew Garfield, who were all sitting in the audience.

Later during the show, Kimmel made a “Hitch” joke about the Smith vehicle, and told the audience, “Please put your hands together, then keep them to yourself.”

While Kimmel was clearly joking, the Oscars did in fact ensure that history didn’t repeat itself at this year’s ceremony by hiring an official crisis team. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer told Time in a Feb. 22 interview, “We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place. We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen.”

Neither Smith nor Rock were in attendance at Sunday’s ceremony. Smith was banned from the ceremony for 10 years as a result of the physical altercation, though he was allowed to accept and keep his best actor win for “King Richard.” Smith, however, did recently make his first 2023 award season appearance on March 1 at the African American Film Critics Association Awards, where he and director Antoine Fuqua were honored with the beacon award for their film “Emancipation.”

Meanwhile, Rock previously said he declined an invitation to host this year’s ceremony during one of his comedy shows back in August 2022, per The Hollywood Reporter. He also addressed his altercation with Smith in his new Netflix special, “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.” “You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith,” Rock said. “It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears. But I’m not a victim, baby. You’ll never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying . . . I took that hit like Pacquiao.”

The comedian added, “I loved Will Smith. My whole life, I loved Will Smith. I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life. And now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whupped.” Rock also explained why he didn’t retaliate, saying, “Because I got parents. You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”

Smith has since apologized to Rock for slapping him, but it seems the comedian isn’t quite ready to forgive him yet.

To see Everything Everywhere All At Once, book your tickets at Hoyts.

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