TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Viewers were left stunned Sunday night during the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles when Will Smith appeared to hit presenter Chris Rock.
Rock was on stage to present the award for best documentary feature when he joked to Smith that he was looking forward to a sequel to “G.I. Jane.”
The joke was a reference to Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who revealed in 2018 that she was diagnosed with alopecia. She often discussed the challenges of hair loss on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Rock’s joke missed, badly.
Smith then got up from his seat near the stage, strode up to Rock and slapped him with an open palm. An audible thud could be heard on the broadcast.
After sitting back down, Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.”
Viewers were quick to take to Twitter to debate whether the exchange was authentic or staged.
At the commercial break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya came up to hug Smith, and Denzel Washington escorted him to the side of the stage, according to the Associated Press. The two talked and hugged and Tyler Perry came over to talk as well.