Will Smith won the award for best actor in a leading role Sunday night, but it was his actions just minutes earlier that created a viral moment at the 2022 Oscars.
As actor and comedian Chris Rock was speaking on stage, he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith — Smith’s wife — starring in “G.I. Jane 2,” apparently because her head is shaved. She didn’t laugh at the joke.
Smith then appeared walking on stage, smacking Rock with an open hand before returning to his seat. While Rock tried to play it off, telling Smith it was a joke, Smith appeared on camera shouting back at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f— mouth,” according to streams airing abroad. The audio was censored for U.S. streams.
Smith returned to the stage minutes later for an acceptance speech for “King Richard,” in which he played the leading role. The actor shed tears on stage, apologizing to the academy and his fellow nominees, though not mentioning Rock.
Will Smith confronted actor and comedian Chris Rock on stage after comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, at the 94th Annual Academy Awards.
Mixed responses to the incident poured in online, as some criticized Smith’s actions, while others appeared to take his side. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son, Jaden, appeared to be among those supporting his father, tweeting “And That’s How We Do It” later in the evening. It was unclear exactly what he was referring to.
Here are some of the viewers’ reactions at home after the scene played out: