This year’s Oscars featured shocks, sighs and surprises – but all anyone will care about is a slap. The Academy Awards took place on Sunday night, with films including The Power of the Dog, West Side Story, Licorice Pizza and Coda battling it out in the big categories.
The biggest story of the night had almost nothing to do with the awards: a shocking altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock sparked by a joke about Smith’s wife Jada. Smith walked up onto the stage and appeared to smack Rock in the face, before shouting at him to not refer to his wife again.
It undoubtedly overshadowed the night as a whole, and notably – just minutes later – Smith’s win of the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard. Through tears, Smith called himself “a vessel of love” and apologised to the Academy. The LAPD confirmed that Rock is not pressing charges. The Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form” and launched a “formal review” into what happened. Hours later, Smith apologised to Rock and said he was “embarrassed”.
Following the on-stage incident, celebrities including Alec Baldwin and Adam Sandler have spoke out in support of Rock, whose forthcoming comedy tour has since experienced a huge surge of interest.
You can follow all the developments about the “slap that was heard around the world” in our live blog below…
Celebrities react to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage
Coda wins Best Picture
Oscars viewers moved by Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli’s tender moment
The 6 biggest talking points from the Oscars ceremony
Academy announces ‘formal review’ to assess ‘consequences’ of Smith altercation
Will Smith refused to leave Oscars after Chris Rock slap, Academy says
23:33 , Nathan Place
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences says it has now begun “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith for his conduct during the ceremony.
“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy,” the organization said in a new statement.
Read more here:
22:33 , Isobel Lewis
One star who did miss out on all the on-stage action was Rita Ora, who’s admitted that she was in the bathroom when Will Smith punched Chris Rock.
The singer, who was attending Vanity Fair’s party with boyfriend Taika Waititi, told Australia’s Nova FM that she was “very annoyed” to have missed the event.
“I suddenly had to go to the bathroom at that point, which I’m very annoyed about,” she said, adding that she was left wondering what on earth was going on on her return.
Chris Rock’s return to the stage
20:58 , Isobel Lewis
After all the drama of Sunday night, we might get to hear exactly what Chris Rock has to say tonight, as the comedian returns to comedy for the first time.
Rock kicks off his new Ego Death world comedy tour at The Wilbur in Boston on Wednesday night.
The venue’s owner Bill Blumenreich told People that the comic has been in a “great mood” during rehearsals.
“He’s one of the nicest, funniest people you could ever meet in your life,” he said.
Wanda Sykes thinks Will Smith should have been thrown out for ‘gross’ slap
19:33 , Isobel Lewis
Wanda Sykes has now spoken further on the on-stage altercation, saying that Chris Rock apologised to her and that she thought Will Smith should have been thrown out.
Appearing on Ellen on Wednesday, the Oscars host said that Rock had apologised for stealing her thunder, telling her: “‘It was supposed to be your night… I’m so sorry this is now gonna be about this.’”
You can read Sykes’s full comments below…
18:59 , Isobel Lewis
Another figure to speak out on Chris Rock’s joke is interior designer Sheila Bridges, who starred in a 2009 documentary about alopecia titled Good Hair funded by Rock himself.
On Tuesday (29 March), Bridges reshared a clip to social media of her and Rock discussing the condition in an interview at the time.
“While I do not condone violence (or what Will Smith did), I am not completely surprised that Chris Rock got rocked by Will Smith after making the medical condition of @jadapinkettsmith part of his comedic schtick — disrespecting her publicly,” she wrote.
“Shame on you @chrisrock. Didn’t we sit down and talk at length about how painfully humiliating and difficult it is to navigate life as a bald woman in a society that is hair obsessed? As if life isn’t challenging enough out here as an unprotected black woman?”
Wanda Sykes comments on Smith/Rock drama
18:00 , Isobel Lewis
Oscars presenter Wanda Sykes has now joined her co-host Amy Schumer and weighed in on the whole Will Smith slap fiasco.
The comedian presented Sunday night’s awards show and has now commented for the first time on what went down between Smith and comedian Chris Rock.
Read her comments below…
Watch how Chris Rock reacted to Will Smith’s slap
17:08 , Isobel Lewis
New footage has emerged online showing Chris Rock in the moments after Will Smith jumped on stage to hit him at the Oscars.
The clip, which emerged on TikTok, shows a dazed looking Rock seeming unable to comprehend what’s just happened.
You can see the clip below…
Tim Allen says he would have ‘run ‘ from Will Smith
16:30 , Sam Moore
Tim Allen has said he would have “run” from Will Smith if confronted on stage like Chris Rock was at the Oscars.
Taking to Twitter to discuss Smith slapping the comedian after Rock joked about his wife’s bald appearance, Allen criticised the Men in Black star.
The Toy Story actor wrote: “It’s not ok to come up on stage and hit a dude cause you don’t like the humor. It’s not ok at a comedy club, concert hall or hosting some cheeseball award show.”
The one-time stand-up comedian also said: “Chris
Rock is a stand up comedian and a standup guy who carried on. I think I would have run.”
Chris Rock’s brother comments on Will Smith Oscars slap
15:30 , Isobel Lewis
Chris Rock’s brother and fellow comedian Tony has commented on Will Smith slapping his elder sibling.
During a Q&A with fans on Twitter, one asked if he accepted Smith’s apology and he simply replied “no”.
Rock was also asked who “hits harder Will or Jada boyfriend” and he replied “Mama Rock”.
The comedian, who has starred in a show produced by Will Smith, was also asked to give his opinion on the incident at the Oscars and bluntly answered “foul”.
Rock also urged his followers to watch his brother’s documentary, Good Hair: “Be sure to watch Good Hair since the narrative is now changed to all my bro does is disrespect women of colour.”
James Corden: Will Smith ‘can’t take a joke’ and Chris Rock ‘can take a punch’
14:21 , Sam Moore
James Corden has said that Will Smith “can’t take a joke” after he slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The talk show host went on to praise how Rock handled the situation and said: “Seriously though, I applaud Chris Rock for recovering, keeping the show moving. It was an incredibly dignified response.”
Corden also joked: “Chris Rock can take a punch. A steel jaw. Unbelievable!”
Corden later parodied the incident later in the show by singing, “We don’t talk about Jada, no, no, no,” to the tune of the hit song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Oscar-winning Encanto.
Bafta say they would have removed Will Smith ‘from the building’
13:07 , Sam Moore
Bafta have said that if Will Smith had slapped Chris Rock at their awards ceremony then he would have been removed from the building and not allowed to collect his award.
Sarah Putt, chair of Bafta’s television committee was asked what the organisation would do if something similar had happened at their awards. She replied: “They would be removed from the building. They would not be in the buildings, so they would not physically be able to collect their award.”
Emma Baehr, the executive director of awards and content for Bafta, also said: “We do not tolerate violence of any kind.”
Oscars co-host Amy Schumer ‘still traumatised’ over slap
12:05 , Maanya Sachdeva
Oscars co-host Amy Schumer has said she is “still triggered and traumatised” over Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
Schumer, who co-hosted the ceremony with Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, also praised Rock for handling the altercation “like a pro”.
Writing that she was “proud of myself and my co-hosts”, Schumer told her Instagram followers on Wednesday (30 March) that she was “waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed”.
Read the full story here:
‘Can’t take a joke, stay home’ – Katherine Ryan on Will Smith
10:26 , Maanya Sachdeva
Katherine Ryan has opened up a discussion with her social media followers to speak about the shocking Oscars slap, with the comedian later sharing screenshots of their conversations to her Instagram stories.
In one screenshot, a social media user wrote to Ryan: “I don’t condone what he did, violence is never the answer but just because Chris is a ‘comedian’, it means Will has to sit and watch his wife be insulted? Chris shouldn’t have said it, Will shouldn’t have hit him.”
Ryan responded: “Yes, he has to sit and watch his wife be insulted, yes that’s the point of the celeb monologue.”
“Can’t take a joke, stay home,” she added.
You can read Annabel Nugent’s report here:
Chris Rock ‘had no idea’ Jada Pinkett Smith had alopecia before Oscars
09:13 , Maanya Sachdeva
While Chris Rock is yet to publicly acknowledge Will Smith’s apology for hitting him on live television, it has been said by a source, via TMZ , that Rock “had no idea” Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia.
A source close to Rock has also claimed that the comedian and Smith are yet to speak to one another about the incident – despite rapper P Diddy’s earlier assertion that the two had made up after their shocking altercation.
Jacob Stolworthy has the full story:
Academy leadership promises ‘appropriate action’ against Will Smith
07:37 , Maanya Sachdeva
In a letter to its members, which was obtained by Variety, Academy leadership has said they were “upset and outraged” that Smith’s actions eclipsed what was meant to be a “celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past last year.”
Signed by president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, the letter read: “To be clear, we condemn Mr Smith’s actions that transpired Sunday night.”
Read the full story here:
Police investigate drone sighting near Will Smith’s LA home
06:17 , Maanya Sachdeva
Police personnel were called to investigate a drone sighting near Will Smith’s Los Angeles mansion two days after “The Slap.”
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office told news media that police arrived at Smith’s house after someone reported a drone flying through the neighbourhood. However, they declined to comment on whether the complaint was lodged by a member of the Smith family or a separate resident.
“We just sent that unit over there to try to locate the drone and see if there was a paparazzi or what was going on,” Deputy Lizette Salcon told Page Six.
Peony Hirwani has the full story:
Zoë Kravitz is not impressed with The Slap
04:30 , Josh Marcus
The Batman star Zoë Kravitz is the latest celebrity to voice her displeasure at Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
The actress posted a photo to Instagram on Tuesday of herself on the red carpet, looking nonplussed.
“Here’s a picture of my dress at the show where we are apparently assaulting people on stage now,” she wrote.
Another Will Smith critic weighs in: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
04:00 , Josh Marcus
Scores of celebrities have voiced their opinion on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, with many offering harsh criticism of the King Richard actor’s behaviour.
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the latest to join the fray.
In a post Tuesday on his Substack blog, the former Los Angeles Laker big man wrote that, “When Will Smith stormed onto the Oscar stage to strike Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife’s short hair, he did a lot more damage than just to Rock’s face. With a single petulant blow, he advocated violence, diminished women, insulted the entertainment industry, and perpetuated stereotypes about the Black community.”
Here’s how others have reacted to The Slap.
Slap-happy: Twitter users keep tagging the wrong Will Smith over Oscars altercation
03:21 , Josh Marcus
A man who shares the same name as Will Smith, and is verified on Twitter, has been the target of abuse on the social media platform since Sunday evening as users continue to mistake him for the King Richard actor.
Those upset by Sunday night’s events have been voicing their criticisms of Smith on Twitter.
Unfortunately, the actor does not appear to have a verified Twitter account, and social media users have been levelling their comments at a non-fa
mous man who shares his name.
Will Smith, a podcast host who works in communications for video game developer Stray Bombay, wrote in a tweet on Sunday: “Real talk, I’m not the person you’re upset/happy with. I make podcasts and video games for a living.
Read more of Saman Javed’s story for Indy/Life.
What are our Voices columnists saying about The Slap?
02:50 , Josh Marcus
Charles Arrowsmith explored how Will Smith’s past may help explain what happened.
What went wrong? Who can say. Smith writes in his memoir that his perfectionist obsession with success is born of insecurity. His was a childhood scarred by violence and a complicated relationship with an abusive father. His straight-edge, upbeat persona was not just the key to his early accomplishments in hip-hop, TV, and movies but also a defense mechanism. “I’d conflated being successful with being loved and being happy,” he writes. Perhaps seeing his wife being insulted at the moment he reached the pinnacle of his achievements was a knock he felt he simply couldn’t abide.
Meanwhile, Victoria Gagliardo-Silver considered the particular nastiness of Chris Rock’s joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, given his past work on a documentary highlighting cultural stigmas around Black women’s appearances.
Chris Rock was uniquely positioned to be sensitive about this issue, which is what makes his joke even more difficult to understand. In 2009, he fronted a documentary called Good Hair that explored the ways in which Black women’s hair is stigmatized in western societies. At the time, he explained the reasoning for why he wanted to make the documentary, saying that his three-year-old daughter had asked him, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” That was supposedly a lightbulb moment for Rock, where he came to realize the pressure Black women are under to have hair that meets an unattainable standard.
Oscars bartender shares behind-the-scenes insight into award ceremony: ‘Everybody stopped drinking after slap’
02:21 , Josh Marcus
The Oscars took placenull