It’s been a year since the controversial slap that shook the 2022 Oscars, but the drama is still making headlines.
Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock was one of the most talked-about moments of the night and remains a vivid memory for many. Now, Rock has addressed the incident publicly for the first time in his Netflix special, Selective Outrage.
During the hour-long special, which was streamed live on Netflix on March 4, Rock acknowledged the slap, saying, “Y’all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Shug Smith. Everybody knows. Everybody fucking knows. Yes. It happened: Like a year ago, I got smacked at the fucking Oscars by this motherfucker.”
For those who missed it, last year Rock presented the award for Best Documentary at the Oscars, where Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, were seated in the front row. As Rock addressed the crowd, he made a joke about Pinkett Smith, which Will Smith did not appreciate. Smith stormed onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face, telling him to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.
The incident sparked a huge fallout, with the Academy quickly condemning Smith’s actions and later banning him from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years. Smith issued a YouTube apology to Rock and spent much of the year promoting his new film, Emancipation, while expressing his contrition for the slap.
Rock, however, remained silent on the matter until now. In his special, he joked about the difference in stature between himself and Smith, and suggested that Smith had slapped him out of displaced anger at Pinkett Smith. Rock contended that Smith was angry that Pinkett Smith’s “entanglement” with August Alsina had become public knowledge, causing embarrassment for the Smith family.
The controversy surrounding the slap was so significant that the Academy has hired a “crisis response team” to handle future disruptions at the Oscars. The team will be on standby during this year’s Oscars, which air on Sunday night.
Despite the passage of time, the slap remains a significant moment in the history of the Oscars, and it’s clear that people are still talking about it. Whether Smith’s contrition will be enough to repair the damage done remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the incident has had a lasting impact on both Rock and Smith.