Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

UPDATE: Chris Rock won't press charges against Will Smith but Academy started a "formal review"

Will Smith apologized to The Academy and his fellow nominees while accepting the Oscar for Best Actor

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
The slap
The slap
Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP (Getty Images)

UPDATE, 2:25 p.m. CT: Deadline reports that though Chris Rock has no intention of pressing charges against Will Smith, the incident is still under investigation by The Academy.

The Academy released a statement that reads:

The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law


In one of the most unbelievable moments in Oscars history, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage after the comedian made a G.I. Jane 2 joke that was in poor taste about Jada Pinkett Smith—who suffers from alopecia. Though Smith initially appeared to sarcastically laugh at the joke, he then stood up from his seat, hit Rock, and upon arriving back to his seat, told Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

Denzel Washington (who was also nominated for Best Actor) reportedly calmed Smith down during the commercial break, alongside Smith’s publicist Meredith O. Sullivan and Oscars producer Will Packer.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars

Things got even more awkward when, shortly after the slap, Smith won Best Actor for his role in King Richard, and used his speech to apologize to the Academy and his fellow nominees—but not Rock directly. He also said, “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.”

Additionally, Smith acknowledged Washington’s help in that moment, saying, “Thank you, Dee. Denzel said a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the Devil comes for you.’”


Rock, who didn’t react to being hit by the Oscar winner on stage besides saying “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” has decided to not press charges.

This was confirmed by the LAPD to Variety, who said in a statement: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

The Academy also issued a statement on Twitter, writing, “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

As for where Rock and Smith stand after the slap, Diddy told Page Six that the men have made amends already. “That’s over. I can confirm that,” he said. “It’s all love. They’re brothers.”