Last night at the Oscars, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over a crack made at Smith’s wife’s expense. Rock referenced Jada Pinkett Smith’s short haircut as part of a joke about the film GI Jane.
“Jada, I love you,” he said. “G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Rock’s reference cited the star of the film, Demi Moore, who buzzed her head for the movie.
Pinkett Smith has previously opened up about having alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. She’s shared her experiences on social media and has helped others with the condition. Rock’s joke went over like a dead weight with her; she rolled her eyes. After initially laughing, Will Smith walked onto the stage and smacked Rock in the face.
After Smith returned to his seat, he shouted “Keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth” repeatedly at Rock.
Rock tried to defuse, albeit without a quick apology: “Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke.” Smith continued to shout at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth.”
“I’m going to, okay?” Rock said. He then joked to an astonished audience, “That was the … greatest night in the history of television.”
The moment’s audio was cut out of the American feed, but other countries saw and uploaded the full exchange to the internet.
Rock tried to recover. “Wow. Will Smith just smacked the s–t outta me,” he said before giving the award for Best Documentary.
Jaden Smith reacted quickly to the slap, Tweeting out “And That’s How We Do It.”
Serena Williams shared two video clips to Instagram Stories that seemed to reference the hit as well. In one, she looked shocked and joked that she put her drink off to the side and “sat down.”
Smith later won Best Actor for his performance in King Richard, the film about Serena and Venus Williams’ father.
Jaden Smith shared a selfie with the caption “My Dad’s Speech Made Me Cry.” He deleted the post.