Entertainment

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars


And the Oscar for Most Shocking Violent Outburst goes to …

Will Smith won his first Academy Award on Sunday. Not that anyone is talking about that. Years from now, the 94th Academy Awards will be remembered for one ugly incident: Smith physically attacking Chris Rock on live television.

It was like a carjacking during a spelling bee — except it was a facejacking.

I have now watched the uncensored clip more than I watched any of the nominated films. And each time, it gets more repulsive. Not only was this the most shocking moment in Academy Awards history, it was so spectacularly crazy and disgraceful, it made Kanye seem well-adjusted.

I was watching the show with my 15-year-old daughters, who were cooing over a shirtless Timothée Chalamet. Rock, on stage to award best documentary, was scanning the glitzy stars in attendance while doing what he does: crack jokes.

At the Oscars, the comedian riffs by poking fun at what he sees. This is his job.

Rock saw Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Specifically, he saw her close-cropped hair: “Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it. Alright?”

The audience laughed. Jada rolled her eyes. She was perturbed. What Rock maybe did not realize is that she has alopecia, which leads to hair loss.

Her head was not a fashion statement. It was a medical condition.

When a few gasps rang out inside the Dolby Theatre, Rock threw up his hands, almost baffled by the blowback murmurs: “That was a nice one, OK!”

Cue the ugly incident.

“I’m out here … ” Rock continues, suddenly trailing off.

Now what he sees is Smith bolting from his seat.

Rock laughs. The crowd cheers. This must be a planned bit.

Smith’s gait is menacing. His head is down. He gets to Rock and, without a peep, winds up with a slap so savage, it’s a miracle Rock’s teeth didn’t end up in Jada’s lap.

“Oh, wow,” said Rock. “Will Smith just smacked the s-t out of me.”

ABC censors, working with a time delay, bleeped out that audio in this market. But uncensored broadcasts aired in multiple countries and were uploaded to social media as millions Googled, “WTF just happened at the Oscars?”

Was that real? Did Will Smith just clock Chris Rock? Am I hallucinating?

“KEEP MY WIFE’S NAME OUT OF YOUR (EFFING) MOUTH!” Smith bellows twice after returning to his seat, almost in a fugue state.

I’m not a psychiatrist. But Will Smith needs one. And maybe a life coach who specializes in anger management. And maybe a reminder that he has previously waxed virtuously about the importance of being a good role model.

I wish he could’ve seen my daughters’ faces when we all started to slowly realize this was real. He would’ve been disgusted by himself.

The absurd part is when Rock first dropped the punch line, Smith laughed. And then in a heartbeat, he flew into a psychotic rage. Equally bizarre: during the first commercial break after “the slap heard around the world,” celebrities, including Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington, were comforting Smith.

Was anyone comforting Rock, who by now was probably rifling through gift bags backstage in search of an ice pack?

This was a physical assault. Period. If you or I slugged someone, we’d end up in handcuffs, not at a Vanity Fair after-party. But the Oscars proceeded as if nothing happened. Smith was not escorted from his seat. The police were not called.

Earlier in the evening, co-host Regina Hall also made a joke at the expense of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. This one was arguably more offensive. It subtly made light of the couple’s open marriage. Jada looked perturbed.

Now, what would’ve happened if Smith stormed the stage to punch Ms. Hall? Would Tiffany Haddish also call that the “most beautiful thing I’ve seen”? Would Tyler Perry mollycoddle Smith? Would Smith get a standing ovation later after winning the Oscar for Best Actor? Give me a break.

His acceptance speech was as surreal as his vicious outburst. After striking another human, this maniac was at the podium, crocodile tears flowing, yammering on about love and responsibility? Who wrote this? Putin? Smith sheepishly apologized to the Academy, but not to Rock. He said love sometimes makes you crazy.

Right. That’s also what violent stalkers say.

The only thing more appalling than what happened on Sunday was Hollywood’s indifference to it. I was just glad Ricky Gervais did not host. Given some of his mean jokes, there’s a good chance Smith would’ve stabbed him.

I’ve heard many now argue Smith was simply protecting his wife. This is total nonsense. He could’ve stood up and heckled. You can create a fuss without resorting to fisticuffs. He could’ve taken up his grievances with Rock after the show.

He could’ve behaved, you know, like a responsible adult.

Instead, with the world watching, he snapped and proved he is unhinged from the very traits of love and responsibility he claims to champion. This wasn’t chivalry — it was chaos. This man wasn’t on a righteous mission — he was a man out of control.

Rewatch the telecast and count the number of times he’s shown laughing after this physical assault. It’s creepy. Will Smith does not need an Oscar.

He needs professional help.

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