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Rock appeared on stage to present the Oscar for documentary feature and made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith being in “G.I. Jane” because of her shaved head.
Smith then took the stage to slap Rock. Although it appeared to be a joke at first, Smith returned to his seat and yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
Many in the Oscars audience appeared stunned at the altercation. Diddy was the next presenter during the ceremony, where he appeared to introduce the 50th-anniversary celebration to “The Godfather.” Diddy addressed the situation by saying, “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this like family. Right now we’re moving on with love. Everybody make some noise.”
Smith’s publicist Meredith O. Sullivan came by him at the commercial break to have a discussion. Also during the break, Denzel Washington got up to speak to Smith privately. Smith revealed during his best actor speech that Washington said to him, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Sullivan continued to visit Smith during each commercial break following the incident. Oscars producer Will Packer also visited Smith before the best actor category was announced. Smith was nominated for his performance in “King Richard” and won the Oscar later in the ceremony.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said during his speech. He later apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for his actions.
Pinkett Smith announced last year she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia. The actor said in an Instagram post, “Now at this point, I can only laugh… y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia. Just all of a sudden, one day…it just showed up like that. Now, this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all not asking any questions…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!”
Rock ended up awarding the documentary Oscar to Questlove for “Summer of Soul.” Asked in the Oscars press room about Smith smacking Rock, Questlove said, “I’m not talking about that. This is about the Harlem cultural festival.”
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