In his most direct response yet, Chris Rock addressed the now-infamous Will Smith slap during a recent comedy show at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ (via Us Weekly). The comedian is currently touring the country alongside Kevin Hart. Rock said he is not a victim, but joked that it hurt getting slapped by Smith on the Oscar stage.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock said, later adding, “I’m not a victim. Yeah, that shit hurts, motherfucker. But I shook that shit off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”
Rock was presenting the best documentary category at the 2022 Oscars in March and outraged Smith by joking about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. Pinkett Smith has alopecia. Smith responded by taking to the stage and slapping Rock across the face. He then returned to his seat and yelled at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
The Academy has banned Smith from its membership for 10 years because of the slap. The actor resigned from the organization prior to the ban announcement.
Rock went out on a solo comedy tour right after the Oscars, but did not talk about the slap in detail. “I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” he told a Boston audience at his first show post-slap. “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.”
In a statement announcing his resignation from the Academy, Smith said, “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home.” I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”
Smith added that “change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”