The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, responded to Best Actor winner Will Smith on Sunday night by slapping comedian and co-host Chris Rock on stage, dismissing the violence without removing the award from Smith.
“The Academy does not condone any form of violence,” she tweeted. “Tonight, we are thrilled to celebrate our 94th Academy Award winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and moviegoers around the world.”
Smith assaulted Rock on live television because of a joke Rock told about Smith’s wife, as reported by Breitbart News:
Smith initially seemed to laugh after Rock mocked his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, for her alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. Rock suggested she star in GI Jane 2, referencing Demi Moore, who shaved her head in the original.
Then, Smith came on stage, approached Rock and punched him in the face before returning to his seat. Rock, stunned, exclaimed: “Wow! Will Smith just scared the hell out of me!
Smith, from the audience, shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
Rock replied, “Wow, man! That was a GI Jane joke.
Smith repeated, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
“I’m going, okay? wow. OK. It was a…greatest night in television history,” Rock continued.
After the incident, security did not kick Smith out, nor was he arrested. He then gave an acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for playing Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serna Williams, in King Richard.
The audience applauded his speech.
Reactions to the assault were mixed, with director Judd Apatow calling Smith’s attack “pure narcissism”, while actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. called it a “beautiful” expression of a feeling. authentic and “vulnerable” between two artists.
Joel B. Pollak is editor of Breitbart News and host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday nights from 7-10 p.m. ET (4-7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book Neither Free Nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.