“Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2 — can’t wait to see it,” Rock quipped while presenting Best Documentary Feature, directing his comments at Jada Pinkett Smith, who is bald and who has previously spoken publicly about her hair-loss condition, alopecia.
Though Will Smith appeared to laugh at the joke at first, Jada Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and appeared displeased. Soon after, Smith walked up to the stage and took a swing at Rock. “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” Rock said. Then Smith, who had returned to his seat, yelled from the audience “Keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth” and repeated it after Rock protested that the dig had just been a joke.
Audio of the exchange was muted on ABC, but international feeds revealed the entire, un-bleeped interaction.
VIA JAPANESE TELEVISION: The uncensored exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock pic.twitter.com/j0Z184ZyXa
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 28, 2022
After Smith’s shouted comments, Rock replied, “I’m going to, OK? That was the greatest night in the history of television.” And after a few moments of awkward silence, the broadcast moved forward with the list of Documentary Feature nominees.
Update: In a tweet posted after Sunday’s ceremony ended, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wrote, “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
The Smiths were in attendance because Will was nominated for Best Actor for his role in King Richard. A short time after the altercation with Rock, Will took home the Oscar for his performance in the film.
When Rock hosted the Oscars in 2016, his opening monologue included a swipe at Pinkett Smith, saying that the then-Gotham star’s “OscarsSoWhite” boycott “is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties: I wasn’t invited.”
Press PLAY on the video above to see the NSFW exchange between Rock and Smith, then hit the comments with your thoughts.