Actor Will Smith just won his first Academy Award for his role as Venus and Serena Williams’ father in “King Richard.” However, the happy moment was marred by a shocking exchange that occurred shortly before his crowning achievement.
Amy Kaufman may have summed up the situation the best when she tweeted, “Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith being in ‘G.I. Jane’ because of her bald head. She’s spoken openly about having a hair loss condition. Will Smith ran on stage, slapped Rock, then screamed twice at the top of his lungs ‘KEEP MY WIFE’S NAME OUT OF YOUR F—ING MOUTH.'”
Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith being in “G.I. Jane” because of her bald head. She’s spoken openly about having a hair loss condition. Will Smith ran on stage, slapped Rock, then screamed twice at the top of his lungs “KEEP MY WIFE’S NAME OUT OF YOUR F-NG MOUTH.”
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) March 28, 2022
The “Pursuit of Happiness” actor took a moment to apologize while he was accepting his award.
Will Smith Apologizes While Accepting His Oscar
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family…”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 28, 2022
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Will Smith began in his acceptance speech.
“In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what god is calling on me to do and be in this world,” he continued. “Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the strongest and most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Sanaya and Demi, the two actresses that played Venus and Serena.
“I’ve been called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to deliver to my people and to be a river to my people,” he went on. “I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you got to have people disrespecting you. You got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”
“But Richard Williams – and what I loved – Denzel said a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.’”
He then apologized to the Academy and the other nominees for his outburst, which was cut out of the “Good Morning America” clip posted above.
However, not many fans were quick to forgive him. Many fans said that Smith had committed assault and his transgression should be treated as such.
Fans Are Not Eager To Forgive Will Smith: ‘Cool Motive, Still Assault’
— LORRAKON (@LORRAKON) March 28, 2022
“I believe he lost the respect of many this evening,” one fan commented. “The night he won an academy award.”
“Cool motive. Still assault,” another wrote.
“He does not deserve this award for doing what he did tonight,” another wrote. “Protect your wife yes… but not like that!!”
Wtaf????? That wasn’t scripted????? 😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 28, 2022
“We are watching a man going through a rough patch on live TV,” said another.
“@willsmith ‘god’ did not call on you to attack a comedian and a friend on national TV,” another wrote. “You’re not Richard Williams you’re an actor. Remain Professional. Thank you.”
“Not deserved: Garfield and Cumberbatch are way better actors and showed way better performances than his,” another wrote. “And after tonight he just showed violence is the answer and it is not. This is all what is wrong today: if I don’t like it, I assault it. That is not right.”
Will smith just fully sent it and punched Chris rock in the face on the Oscar’s
— THE CHAINSMOKERS (@TheChainsmokers) March 28, 2022
“Unnecessary and awkward,” another commented. “It was assault.”
“He should have been down at the station answering questions instead of accepting that award,” said another.
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian.
Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
Kathy Griffin seemed to agree, saying, “Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.”