Hollywood actor Will Smith slapped American comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars and the incident has taken the internet by storm.
The incident materialised when Rock joked about Smith's wife, actor Jada Pinket Smith at the 94th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles on Sunday. The actor, who was presenting live on-stage at the Oscars, took a jab at Jada's shaved head, asking whether she'll be appearing in G.I. Jane 2. "Jada I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," he said, referencing the 1997 film in which Demi Moore undergoes Navy Seal training and shaves her head to seem less feminine.
Jada, who has been open about dealing with alopecia, appeared uncomfortable because of the joke. Soon after, Will walked up to Rock on stage and slapped him, after which he went back to his seat and screamed, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g mouth!”
Rock kept his cool and carried on presenting. He tried to make light of the slap in an effort to make the situation a little less awkward.
Rock was followed by the next presenter, American rapper Diddy, who addressed the situation and said, “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this like family. Right now we’re moving on with love. Everybody make some noise.”
Shortly after the incident, Smith won the Oscar for best actor for his role in the film King Richard and tearfully accepted the award. He called Williams "a fierce defender of his family" and apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees for the incident. He did not mention Rock by name. Smith left the stage to a standing ovation after telling the crowd, "I hope the academy invites me back."
Variety confirmed from the Los Angeles Police that Rock has “declined to file a police report” following the altercation with Will at the ceremony. A full statement from the police reads: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme. 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 incident had everyone talking — including our own Pakistanis celebrities. Actors Ahmed Ali Butt and Adnan Malik strongly condemned Will's reaction and expressed disappointment. Butt praised Rock for maintaining his cool after the slap.
Malik called the incident "toxic", saying that Rock shouldn't have made the joke and Will should not have appointed himself as his wife's "protector". "You can respond to words with words," he added.
The Sadqay Tumhare actor analysed the situation and pointed out deeper issues like "race", "gender" and "allyship". He asked a series of questions in an effort to "unpack" the incident.
Netizens expressed a range of reactions as well. One user called the Oscars "a roller coaster of emotions".
Some users defended Will, saying Rock deserved it for "going too far".
While others rushed to Rock's defence, for handling the "assault" "professionally".
One user highlighted the shockwaves that erupted in the audience witnessing the moment.
Many users think the confrontation was part of a ploy to rake viewership.
What are your thoughts on the incident?