Chris Rock is ready to fully address "the slap."
One year after Will Smith slapped him at the 2022 Academy Awards, the stand-up comedian has returned to the microphone to address what went down. On March 4, the “Amsterdam” actor touched on the incident while appearing on Netflix’s first-ever live stand-up special, “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.”
The event, which streamed live from Baltimore, Maryland, featured appearances from fellow comedians Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Arsenio Hall, Deon Cole, and Leslie Jones and saw “The Daily Show’s” Ronny Chieng as host.
Still, it was Rock and, more specifically, what he had to say of Smith’s now infamous slap, that took center stage.
“I got smacked at the f---ing Oscars by this motherf---er, and people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts,” he told the crowd. “I took that hit like Pacquiao.”
He then suggested that Smith practices “selective outrage.”
“Everybody who really knows, knows that I had nothing to do with that s---. I didn’t have any ‘entanglements,’” he said, referring to the relationship Jada Pinkett Smith said she had had with another man when separated from Will Smith.
“She hurt him way more than he hurt me. Everybody in the world called him a b----. I tried to call the motherf---er, I tried to call that man and give him my condolences, he didn’t pick up for me.
“Everybody called him a b----. And who does he hit? Me.”
Rock later said that he has loved and rooted for Will Smith his whole life. “And now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just so I could watch him get whooped,” he said.
The slapping incident — so scandalous that it now has its own Wikipedia page and has amassed nicknames such as “Slapgate” and “The Slap” — saw the academy criticized for what was seen as a slow response. In the moments after the smack, Smith returned to his seat, shouting at Rock with obscenities. The actor remained for the rest of the ceremony and later delivered a speech when he won best actor for his performance in “King Richard.”
In the days after the incident occurred, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, and the organization issued a ban against the actor from its Oscars ceremonies for 10 years.
More recently, on Feb. 22, the academy announced it had established a “crisis team” for its upcoming 2023 Oscars to get ahead of any potential real-time disturbances.
Up until his live stand-up special for Netflix special, Rock has been brief with his commentary about Smith’s behavior at the Oscars ceremony at length.
Three days after the incident, Rock performed to a sold-out crowd for the opening show of his Ego Death World Tour in Boston.
The actor appeared on stage to a standing ovation.
“How was your weekend?” he asked, delivering a wink to the crowd. “I don’t have a bunch of s--- about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” he added. “I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point, I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
According to Deadline, during a second show for his Ego Death World Tour at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, he told his audience, “I haven’t talked to anyone despite what you may have heard.”
On July 24 of last year, Rock addressed the slap once more while at a comedy show in Holmdel, New Jersey, according to Variety.
Speaking about the moment, Rock underlined that he wasn’t a victim.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” he said. “I’m not a victim. Yeah, that s--- hurt, motherf-----. But I shook that s--- off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”