Nearly a year after the infamous slap heard around the world at the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock finally addressed his dispute with Will Smith during his highly anticipated Netflix comedy special.
The comedian tested out material about the slap incident in the months leading up to the live special, though we’ve only heard whispers about it since audiences have been ordered to lock up their phones during his most recent tours. However, Rock let the world in on Saturday night when he laid out his true feelings about what went down between him and Will.
Near the end of his live-streamed special, “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage,” Rock gave a no-holds-barred response to the slap, calling out both Will and the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith,” Rock said. “It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears. But I’m not a victim, baby. You’ll never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying … I took that hit like Pacquiao.”
He continued, “I love Will Smith, my whole life. I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life, now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whupped.”
Rock went on to share why he didn’t “fight back” after the slap. “‘How come you didn’t do nothing back that night?'” Rock said of the question he hears the most. “Because I got parents. You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of White people.”
Rock’s comments come after multiple reports confirmed that he’d finally publicly address the slap during his history-making Netflix special. As many know by now, the comedian was slapped onstage by Smith on March 27, 2022, during his hosting duties at last year’s Academy Awards, which was the result of a tasteless joke told about Jada.
Jada wasn’t left out of the special either. The comedian took aim at the couple’s marriage, referencing the title of his special in the process. “Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock said. “Everybody that really knows knows I had nothing to do with that sh*t. I didn’t have any ‘entanglements.'”
Rock appeared to be referencing Jada’s relationship with singer August Alsina, which occurred while she and Will were taking some time apart. The couple went on to discuss Alsin on an episode of Jada’s “Red Table Talk.” “We all been cheated on. Everybody in this industry has been cheated on,” Rock continued.”None of us have ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television. None of us. Why the f*ck would you do that sh*t? She hurt him way more than he hurt me, OK?”
In 2022, the jaw-dropping ordeal immediately sent shock waves across the industry and subsequently ended with Will getting banned from the awards ceremony for ten years, a ruling that came after he was allowed to accept his best actor win following the incident. Rock remained relatively mum about it for a few weeks, though some of his fans heard his initial thoughts about the slap during some of his comedy shows last spring. Many stars, and even family members, also weighed in with their opinions.
Though Will has since apologized multiple times to Rock, it’s seems unlikely the comedian is ready to forgive the “King Richard” star. But the Oscars has already created a system to prevent future incidents like theirs from happening ever again. After its admittedly flawed response to last year’s situation, the Academy hired a crisis team for the 2023 Oscars and beyond to handle any unexpected moments. However, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer told Time last month that they “hope something doesn’t happen and we never have to use these.”
Image Source: Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix