Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on Oscars stage after joke about Jada Pinkett Smith

The shocking moment happened during the ceremony's third hour, leading Smith and Rock to almost immediately trend on Twitter

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The 94th annual Academy Awards took quite the turn in its final hour when Will Smith appeared to strike Chris Rock during the televised ceremony on Sunday.

Comedian Rock presented at the Oscars this year, and as many presenters do, proceeded to spend some time roasting some of the celebrity attendees before going into his category.

One of his jokes was directed at Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who were in attendance due to Smith’s nomination for his performance in King Richard. Referencing Pinkett-Smith’s bald hairstyle, Rock joked, “Jada, I love you! ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ I can’t wait to see it.”

The joke did not go over well with the Smiths.

94th Annual Academy Awards - Show
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: (L-R) Chris Rock and Will Smith are seen onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

A few moments after the joke, Will Smith walked on stage and headed directly towards Rock, striking him. While the live broadcast was interrupted and muted, footage surfaced online confirming the slap, as well as comments Smith made once he made it back to his seat.

He shouted to Rock on stage after sitting back down, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”

Per Variety, the room was “stunned” after the altercation on stage. Diddy, the next presenter, commented directly on the moment. He told the audience, “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve that like family. Right now we’re moving on with love. Everybody make some noise.”

94th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: (L-R) Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Per Variety, Meredith O. Sullivan, Smith’s publicist, immediately went over to Smith during the commercial break. Denzel Washington, a Best Actor nominee for The Tragedy of Macbeth, was also seen taking Smith aside, something Smith later confirmed in his acceptance speech.

Twitter took off immediately after the moment, calling out the shocking altercation, actors who were watching along in awe and more.

Many viewers also seemed to call out Pinkett Smith’s hair loss journey, something she has been open about publicly. This, some viewers tweeted, could be a reason why the joke was so poorly received.

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