It was the slap felt all around the globe.
In case you missed it, while presenting the Best Documentary award, Chris Rock referred to Jada Pinkett Smith as G.I Jane, cruelly referring to her bald head. Jada has been vocal about her battles with alopecia, a condition which causes hair loss, since 2018.
The ‘joke’ has rightly sparked a lot of anger, particularly over the inappropriate decision to comment on a woman’s appearance, especially when it involves underlying health issues. While many celebrates in attendance initially kept quiet in the fallout, some are choosing to speak up.
Following the ceremony Will Smith has formally resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following an official investigation and disciplinary hearing.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” Smith wrote in a statement.
“I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate”, the actor continued.
On April 9, a fortnight after the ceremony took place, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled that Will Smith will be banned from attending the Oscars and subsequent AMPAS-hosted events for 10 years.
The Academy’s statement read:
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year,” Academy president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement. However, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behaviour we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage.”
The news comes after many A-listers took to social media to share their thoughts on the unprecedented attack.
Zoë Kravitz was amongst the first, opening the floodgates with a Instagram caption. Taking to social media, the actress shared images of herself from the Academy Awards red carpet and Vanity Fair Oscars after party, writing “here’s a picture of my dress at the award show where we are apparently assaulting people on stage now.”
Her comments sparked a wave of backlash directed at her, with many alleging that her comments were problematic and unnecessary. Despite the criticism, she’s not the she’s not the only A-lister to share their reaction to the event.
From Will Smith’s apology, Chris Rock’s reaction, Jada Pinkett Smith’s cryptic post and Zoë Kravitz’s controversial comments, keep reading below for everything Hollywood had to say about the incident.
Following the ceremony and after party, Smith took to social media to share images of himself and Jada with the caption “Me ‘n Jada got all dressed up to choose chaos”.
He later formally apologised for his behaviour via another social media post.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” the Academy Award winner wrote.
“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,” he continued.
“I would also like to apologise to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologise to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
Following the Instagram statement Will has now formally addressed the incident and the Academy’s investigation by officially resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The statement reads:
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. 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. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
According to Deadline, members of the Academy are set to meet on April 18 to determine a course of action against the King Richard star.
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We will continue to move forward with our disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct,” said AMPAS president David Rubin said in a statement.
As previously mentioned, AMPAS has also banned Smith from attending their events, including the Oscar Awards, for 10 years. They’re yet to comment on whether the ban will require Smith to return his Oscar or if he will be prohibited from receiving Academy Award nominations for future work.
In an new op-ed, one AMPAS member is calling for Smith to “voluntarily return” his award. Writing in Variety, Harry Lennix referred to Smith’s punishment as a “toothless penalty that lays bare the shallowness of Hollywood morals”.
Lennix also wrote that Smith should “express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: ‘Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian'”.
Appearing at a comedy show in Boston, Chris Rock addressed the incident but didn’t go into too much detail about how he’s reacting.
“I’m still kind of processing what happened … at some point I’ll talk about that s***. It will be serious and funny,” Rock said.
He also explained that he still doesn’t have much to say, however given the uncertainty around whether Rock wrote the joke himself we’re sure that all will be revealed in due time.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Unlike Will, Jada’s response to the incident was a little more cryptic. Rather than a heartfelt open letter Jada opted to share a motivational Instagram quote.
The title read “this is a season for healing and I’m here for it”. Despite the lack of statement, reports claim that Will and Jada will sit down on her show Red Table Talk to discuss the incident further.
Will and Jada’s daughter Willow is the only of their three children to comment on the incident. Taking a page out of Jada’s book, Willow shared an obscure tweet to her Instagram Story but didn’t directly comment on the situation.
“You know who’s going through a lot right now? Literally everyone. Just be kind,” the post read.
Jaden Smith also weighed in on the event, writing in a Twitter post “and that’s how we do it”. – While many were unsure whether Jaden was referencing his father’s Oscar win or his assault on Chris, it’s clear that Jaden is team Will.
As previously mentioned, Zoë Kravitz was one of the first celebrities to share her thoughts about the evening.
If captioning her Instagram post “here’s a picture of my dress at the award show where we are apparently assaulting people on stage now” wasn’t enough to convince you of her stance, then the comments section definitely will.
One user wrote “You don’t support him defending your wife?” with Zoë responding with a simple yet effective “nope”.
As one of three co-hosts at the 2022 Oscar awards, Amy Schumer rightfully had every reason to share her reaction to the evening’s proceedings.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Amy described being “shocked and stunned and sad” by the incident.
She also described being “triggered and traumatised” and “waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed”.
“I love my friend [Chris Rock] and believe he handled it like a pro. Stayed up there and gave an Oscar to his friend and the whole thing was so disturbing. So much pain in [Will Smith], anyway I’m still in shock and stunned and sad,” Amy wrote.
Wanda Sykes, who co-hosted the 2022 Oscars alongside Regina Hall and Amy Schumer, has also spoken out about how she felt during what some commentators are calling “slapgate”.
Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Wanda revealed she “felt so awful for my friend Chris”, before adding that the incident was “sickening” and that she felt “physically ill” while watching it unfold.
Wanda also said that she was still a little “traumatised” by the events and commented on the fact the Academy allowed Will to “stay in that room, enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award” was “gross”.
“This is the wrong message”, she continued.
“You assault someone, you get escorted out the building but for them to let him continue was gross. I know he apologised to Chris but we were the hosts and no one has apologised to us and we worked really hard to put that show together”.
Wanda finished her segment by saying that Chris apologised to her at the afterparty because he felt bad for overshadowing her night. Ellen added that Chris is a “sweet” guy.
In a post-event interview with People Magazine, Haddish described watching Will stand up for his wife as the “most beautiful thing” she has ever seen. Haddish has been friends with Pinkett-Smith for years, so it makes sense for her to show her support for the family during this period.
“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me,” she told the publication. “As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you.”
“And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.” the comedian continued.