Oscars 2022: What did Chris Rock say to Will Smith? Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock? GI Jane joke explained

After Will Smith issues a public apology over slapping Chris Rock, here’s what happened at the Oscars 2022, what Chris Rock said about Jada Pinkett Smith to cause Will Smith reaction – and what alopecia is

The Oscars 2022 will go down in history as a night of momentous wins and controversy in equal measure.

The 94th Academy Awards saw Coda win Best Picture and West Side Story actress Ariana DeBose become the first openly queer woman of colour to win an Oscar.

Read More
Oscars 2022: The full list of winners from the 94th Academy Awards
Oscars 2022: What did Chris Rock say to Will Smith? Why Will Smith hit Chris Rock and what happened at the Oscars. (Image credit: Angela Weiss, Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the prestigious awards ceremony was plunged into chaos when Hollywood actor Will Smith hit comedian Chris Rock following a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Images of the shocked faces of Nicole Kidman, Lupita Nyong’o and other celebrities at the Oscars have since gone viral, as Smith’s actions marred his own first Oscar win.

Here’s what happened at the Oscars, why Will Smith hit Chris Rock and what alopecia is.

What did Chris Rock say at the Oscars 2022?

US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. (Image credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Veteran comedian Chris Rock took to the stage at the Academy Awards to present the award for Best Documentary Feature and stoked the ire of Will Smith with his introductory remarks.

One of Rock’s jokes poked fun at Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut hairstyle – comparing her to Demi Moore’s character in the 1997 action film of the same name, GI Jane.

Rock said “Jada, I love you – I can’t wait for GI Jane 2”, prompting the actress to roll her eyes.

Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia and discussed the medical condition as the reason for shaving her head last year.

Will Smith cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Image credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is a type of hair loss which can be caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles, causing hair to fall out.

Known to produce areas of patchy baldness, it can also be caused by medical conditions, ageing, illness or through bodily focused repetitive behaviour disorders such as trichotillomania.

Sufferers of alopecia often opt to wear wigs, hair pieces or shave their heads in order to maintain their confidence.

Jada Pinkett Smith first discussed her experience with alopecia on her talk show, Red Table Talk, in 2018.

“It was terrifying when it first started,” she said.

“I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, oh my god, am I going bald?”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Pinkett Smith posted an Instagram video in late 2021 which saw her update fans and followers on the development of her alopecia – pointing out new areas of baldness and saying “mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something.

"Me and this alopecia are going to be friends…period!.”

Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock?

Despite initially appearing to laugh at Rock’s joke, Will Smith shocked attendees and viewers alike when he walked on stage at the Oscars 2022 and slapped Chris Rock across the face.

Rock, baffled by the incident, said: “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.”

Smith then responded from his seat by shouting “keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth” twice at the comedian.

The incident came shortly before Smith was announced as the winner of this year’s Best Actor award for his leading role in King Richard.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Upon receiving the award, which was his first ever Oscars win, Smith apologised to the Academy and fellow nominees for his reaction – but did not apologise to Rock.

Breaking down in tears, he said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.

“In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”

He added: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.

“I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.

“You’ve got to be able have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.”

He added: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.”

He continued: “Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”

After paying tribute to his mother and his family he added: “Thank you for this honour, thank you for this moment…I hope the Academy invites me back.”

Jaden Smith, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son, later tweeted: “And That’s How We Do It”

The Academy later said that it did not “condone violence of any form”.

What did Will Smith say in his public apology to Chris Rock?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Will Smith issued a public apology to Chris Rock after slapping the comedian at the Oscars.

He called his behaviour at the Academy Awards “unacceptable and inexcusable” and said he was embarrassed by his actions.

Smith added that the joke about his wife’s medical condition had caused him to react “emotionally” but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

The actor said: “I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris.

"I was out of line and I was wrong.

“I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.

"There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He concluded by saying: “I am a work in progress.”

What else happened at the Oscars 2022?

Besides the chaos caused by Smith’s actions at the Academy Awards this year, the Oscars 2022 still saw several history-making moments.

While deaf family drama film Coda, which stands for child of deaf adults, scooped Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, the film’s leading actor Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to receive an Oscar for acting.

Kotsur dedicated his award to the “the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community”.

“This is our moment,” he signed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

West Side Story star Ariana DeBose won the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance as Anita in the classic musical, 60 years after her predecessor in the role, Rita Moreno, earned the statuette herself.

DeBose added: “Now you see why Anita says I want to be in America because even in this weary world that we live in dreams do come true and that’s a heartening thing right now.”

The actress also paid tribute to Moreno, saying she “paved the way for tonnes of Anitas like me”.

Meanwhile, Sir Kenneth Branagh won the Best Screenplay award for Belfast, which is based on his own childhood during the Troubles.

Collecting the award, he said: “This is an enormous honour for my family and a great tribute to an amazing city and fantastic people.”

He added: “This story is the search for joy and hope in the fact of violence and loss.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We lost some people along the way.”

He continued: “We miss them, we love them and we will never forget them and we we will never forget all of those lost in the heartbreaking, heart-warming human story of that amazing city of Belfast on the fabulous island of Ireland.

“This means a lot.”

Additional reporting by PA

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.