THE world has reacted after Will Smith HIT Chris Rock on stage for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith during the Oscars.
Smith’s first Oscar win was shrouded in controversy after the actor tearfully apologised on stage following the incident with comedian Rock in which he appeared to hit him during the live awards ceremony.
Philadelphia-born Smith, 53, appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made on stage about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss, resulting in him marching on stage to confront the comedian.
He appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting from the audience to Rock on stage.
The 94th Academy Awards featured a moment of silence for the suffering people of Ukraine on the 34th day of the Russian invasion.
The biggest night in Hollywood is live now with hosts Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Amy Schumer.
Beyoncé kicked off the night with a live performance of her song Be Alive, which has been nominated for Best Original Song for its feature in the movie King Richard.
DJ Khalid jokingly interrupted the hosts as the trio joked about being a woman in Hollywood and roasted ceremony guests like Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Campion, and Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune has won multiple awards already, while Ariana DeBose took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a historic victory as the first openly queer woman of color to win that award.
The night kicked off with stars like Vanessa Hudgens and Lily James walking the red carpet as anticipation built for the ceremony.
Kourtney Kardashian shared a behind-the-scenes look at her preparation for the Oscars, where her fiance Travis Barker will be performing.
The couple showed major PDA on the red carpet while Kourtney, 42, wore a tight black dress and the Blink-182 drummer kept it cool in an all-black suit.
Read our Oscars 2022 live blog for the latest news and updates…
Academy could sue Smith
Chris Rock or the Academy Awards could each potentially sue Will Smith in civil court, where the burden of proof is much lower than criminal court, both law experts told The Sun.
The Sun asked his publicist for comment if he will be pursuing criminal or civil cases. Rock has said he wouldn’t sue in public statements, which would mean there’s no case.
But the Academy Awards could sue Smith and claim he damaged its product.
“The academy doesn’t have a criminal case against Will Smith,” Sacks said. “But the academy can sue him in civil court. He did damage to their production. He hurt the value of their show. He caused violence. But you would have to prove damages.”
“It would have to be a financial loss. He diminished their product by his behavior. Other celebrities may be nervous to go next year because of lack of security. But they would likely ban him over suing in civil court.”
Tenzer said she thinks the Academy Awards’s civil case would be “weak.”
Smith could face jail time or probation, part three
Beverly Hills attorney Adam Michael Sacks said the police and prosecutors could potentially still move forward with criminal charges against Will Smith without Chris Rock’s participation, but agreed with Tenzer and said it’s unlikely.
“I would imagine (Chris Rock) will let it slide,” Sacks said.
“If he wanted, he could. It’s assault and battery. It’s going to be hard to argue against it because it’s on video and a lot of witnesses.”
“That’s a serious crime. That’s a good year in jail. His past arrest was a long time ago. More than 10 years, so it wouldn’t be a big consideration. He would likely get probation.”
Smith could face jail time or probation, continued
“The fact is that he hit all elements under under the penal code,” Tenzer added.
“He applied force, he did it willfully and he chose to do it, and defending his wife from a joke is not justification under the law.”
“Clearly, he committed a crime, but prosecutors won’t go ahead with charges without a claimant, in this case Chris Rock, because there would be no one to testify.”
“That’s a problem many times in rape and abuse cases. if the claimant doesn’t want to testify or press charges, prosecutors have no case.”
Smith could face jail time or probation, experts claim
Although law professor Leslie Y Garfield Tenzer told The Sun she believes nothing being done about the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars is the most likely outcome because Rock has — so far — said he won’t press charges, Smith does face some possible other repercussions.
Tenzer, who teaches at New York’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, said a criminal case and civil lawsuit hinges on the comedian’s participation.
“What Will Smith did meets every requirement of criminal assault under California’s penal code,” Tenzer said.
Is Chris Rock pressing charges against Will Smith?
Rock was allegedly smacked after making a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, 50, and her hair-loss condition during the Oscars award ceremony.
LAPD confirmed that Rock is not pressing charges against Smith over the on-stage altercation.
A statement by the police department said: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program.”
“The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.”
“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
Will Smith, Tyler Perry, and Denzel Washington
A video is making the rounds on Twitter showing Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington speaking to Will Smith after the incident between Smith and Chris Rock.
Denzel Washington seen speaking to Smith
As the ceremony went to a commercial break after the confrontation between Chris Rock and Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry were seen pulling Will aside for a pep talk.
Insiders claimed Denzel told Will off for hitting Chris and videos from inside the room show the trio huddled together during the break.
Full crisis mode, continued
“Once the ceremony was over they called in key members to hold an emergency meeting about what action they should take,” that source continued.
“There have been calls to have Will stripped of his Best Actor gong. They cannot be seen to be condoning violence in any way and there are some people in the Academy who believe they should remove the award from him to make a point.”
“Others however believe he should be allowed to hold onto it,” the insider added.
“Chris was immediately supported backstage and has been offered a package of after care where he can talk to professionals provided by the academy if needed.”
“The Academy are taking this incredibly seriously.”
Full crisis mode
Oscars bosses held top-secret emergency talks over whether to strip Will Smith of his Best Actor, according to inside sources.
Insiders said angered members of the Academy joined the meeting by Zoom, where they demanded the Men In Black star also be kicked out of the organization.
Insiders said that along with holding the crisis talks, Chris – who has since declined to press charges against Will – has been offered an “after care package” to cope with the incident.
A source said: “The Academy publicly condemned Will slapping Chris and behind the scenes they went into full crisis mode.”
Body language expert weighs in, continued
James also claimed that Smith had a “smug” smile when returning to his seat after smacking the comic.
James said that the Men in Black star swore with “true anger” in his voice during the incident.
“Someone who works for the Oscars told me that Chris Rock was not interrupted by Will Smith at rehearsals yesterday. It was not supposed to happen,” another source revealed.
“It was real.”
Body language expert weighs in
Comedian Chris Rock didn’t expect to be hit by Will Smith at the Oscars. a body language expert says.
Body language expert Judi James told The Sun that Smith’s initial response was a “subdued performed laughter” while Jada’s torso “stiffened” and her smile “froze.”
The body language expert said the comic didn’t expect to be hit.
She said: “His hands were clasped behind his back and he was laughing right up until the blow landed.”
‘It was real’
“Someone who works for the Oscars told me that Chris Rock was not interrupted by Will Smith at rehearsals yesterday. It was not supposed to happen,” a source revealed after the altercation between Rock and Smith.
“It was real.”
Will Smith’s son Jaden reacts
Will Smith’s son Jaden has spoken out after the actor stormed the Oscars stage and slapped Chris Rock in the face on Sunday night.
Smith hit Rock after Rock made a poorly-received joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss.
Jaden, 23, took to Twitter afterward to defend dad Will’s actions as fans of the awards ceremony turned to social media to slam him.
He simply wrote in response to the evening: “And that’s how we do it.”
‘It was so uncomfortable’
A Hollywood source told The New York Post after the incident between Chris Rock and Will Smith: “It’s basically assault. Everyone was just so shocked in the room, it was so uncomfortable.”
“I think Will would not want to give his Oscar back, but who knows what will happen now.”
Could Will Smith lose his Oscar?
There’s a chance that Will Smith might be asked to return his Oscar after the altercation between himself and comedian Chris Rock.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has strict guidelines in its code of conduct, The New York Post noted, and Smith could potentially be asked to give the award back after the incident.
Statement from the Academy
The Academy released a statement about the incident between Chris Rock and Will Smith hours after the ceremony.
“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” it read.
“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.”
Mark Hamill dubs altercation ‘ugliest oscar moment ever’
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill dubbed it the “ugliest Oscar moment ever”.
He added: “Stand-up comics are very adept at handling hecklers.
“Violent physical assault… not so much.”
Sir Kenneth Branagh wins award for Best Screenplay
Sir Kenneth Branagh won the Oscar for his screenplay for Belfast, which is based on his own childhood during the Troubles.
Collecting the statue, he said: “This is an enormous honour for my family and a great tribute to an amazing city and fantastic people.”
He added: “This story is the search for joy and hope in the fact of violence and loss.
“We lost some people along the way.”
He continued: “We miss them, we love them and we will never forget them and we we will never forget all of those lost in the heartbreaking, heart-warming human story of that amazing city of Belfast on the fabulous island of Ireland.
“This means a lot.”
Conan O’Brien makes light of shock incident
American late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien was among those making light of the situation.
He wrote on Twitter: “Just saw the Will Smith slap.
“Anyone have a late-night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?”
Will Smith apologises to Academy – but NOT Chris Rock
Smith apologised to both the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected his gong, joking that he “looks like the crazy father.”
Breaking down in tears, he said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”
He added: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.
“You’ve got to be able have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.”
He added: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.
“This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people. Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”
One Tree Hill star says ‘violence isn’t ok’
One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush commented that “violence isn’t OK”.
She added: “Assault is never the answer. Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscar stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia.
“Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather.”
Comedia says Smith’s actions set a bad precedent
Comedian Kathy Griffin suggested Smith’s actions set a bad precedent for her profession.
She said on Twitter: “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.”
Mia Farrow says ‘it was just a joke’
The film world is reacting in shock to the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars 2022 ceremony.
Hollywood star Mia Farrow tweeted: “It was just a joke.
“Jokes are what Chris Rock does.
“Always has been edgy. This was a mild joke for him. And I love GI Jane.”
The Last Samurai producer Marshall Herskovitz urged the Academy to do more than simply issue a statement in response to the incident.
He said on Twitter: “I call upon the Academy, of which I am a member, to take disciplinary action against Will Smith.
“He disgraced our entire community tonight.”