Chris Rock broke his silence about Will Smith, who allegedly lashed out at him during the Academy Awards ceremony a year ago over his own marital issues.
The 58-year-old comedian made these remarks during his first stand-up special since the Oscars, which aired on Netflix a week before the 2023 Academy Awards.
Rock opened the live show, titled “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage,” by stating that those who claim words can hurt have not experienced physical violence, such as being punched in the face.
Despite spending most of his hour-long performance at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore discussing topics other than his altercation with Will Smith a year ago, Chris Rock saved the best for last.
In a comedic yet emotional analysis of the Oscars incident, Rock admitted that the incident still hurt, with the sound of “Summertime” ringing in his ears. However, he asserted that he wasn’t a victim and would never be seen on Oprah or Gayle King’s shows crying about it.
During his Netflix special, “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage,” Rock suggested that Smith’s anger might have been due to his marital problems, and he used the opportunity to express his frustration. At the previous year’s Oscars, Smith charged the stage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss.
Rock accused Smith of practicing selective outrage, claiming that he had nothing to do with the situation and that he had no entanglements.
Pinkett Smith has said she had an “entanglement” with another man while the Smiths were separated.
Rock went on to say “everyone in the world” called Smith an expletive over his relationship issues , but Smith took it out on Rock — a physically smaller man.
“She hurt him way more than he hurt me,” the comedian said.
Chris Rock also claimed that Jada Pinkett Smith encouraged him to withdraw from hosting the Oscars one year, as Smith was not nominated for his role in “Emancipation.” Rock then corrected himself, saying he meant to name another film, “Concussion.” He joked, “That’s how it is. She starts it, I finish it.”
Despite the incident, Rock revealed that he has been a supporter of Will Smith for his entire life. However, he admitted that he now watches “Emancipation” just to see Smith get beaten up.
Representatives for the Smiths did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Smith apologized and spoke about the incident several times since last March. He resigned from the film academy, and the academy board of governors banned him from the Oscars and all other academy events for a decade.
Although Rock has not been vocal about the incident, he has made jokes and reflections about it during his performances. He first mentioned the slap during a show in Boston three nights after the Oscars ceremony, admitting that he was still processing what happened.
“Selective Outrage” is Rock’s second special for Netflix, following 2018’s “Tamborine.” As part of a two-special $40 million deal signed with the streamer in 2016, “Selective Outrage” is the platform’s first venture into live programming. With over 231 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix also recently announced that it will stream next year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, indicating that “Selective Outrage” may be the beginning of a new trend.