The reverberations from Will Smith smacking Chris Rock after the comedian poked fun at his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during Sunday night’s Academy Awards are still being felt, but it’s not the first time Rock has made jokes about her at the Oscars.
When Rock hosted the Academy Awards in 2016, he had Pinkett Smith in his sights when delivering his monologue, joking how she was boycotting the ceremony because of a lack of diversity.
“Jada said she’s not coming, protest. I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s going to boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!” he said, prompting laughs from the audience.
Rock also said Pinkett Smith was mad her husband wasn’t nominated that year for his role in “Concussion.”
“It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for ‘Wild Wild West,’ OK?” he said, referencing one of Smith’s biggest flops.
Smith generated worldwide headlines Sunday night when he slapped Rock after the comedian made fun of Pinkett Smith while presenting the award for best documentary.
“Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” he joked, an apparent reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. She revealed in 2018 that she has alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
After Rock’s joke, Smith, who would go on to win best actor for his performance in “King Richard,” walked up to the stage and struck the comedian.
"Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me," he said.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f---ing mouth!” Smith shouted twice from his seat.
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When accepting his best actor award, a tearful Smith apologized for his actions to the academy, but did not mention Rock in his speech.
“I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to able to have people talk crazy about you,” he said. “In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s OK.”