Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. Here's what has happened since.
It was one of the most infamous moments in Academy Awards history that became known as "the slap." The world could not stop talking about Will Smith striking comedian Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
A lot has happened since the slap: Will Smith apologized (twice) and was banned from Academy events for 10 years. Chris Rock finally addressed the incident in-depth during a live comedy special, nearly a year after it happened. And the 2023 Oscars went down without any slaps – though the moment was certainly a talker during the show.
Here's everything to know about the slap and everything that's happened since.
When and why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock?
The controversy began when Rock appeared onstage to present the Academy Award for best documentary feature during the 2022 Oscars ceremony. In his introduction, Rock made a joke about a possible "G.I. Jane" sequel in reference to Pinkett Smith's bald head.
Smith appeared to first laugh at Rock's joke, though Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes and looked upset.
Afterward, Smith walked up to the stage, slapped Rock and returned to his seat amid confusion in the crowd about whether the segment was scripted or real.
"Will Smith just slapped the (expletive) out of me," Rock deadpanned to the audience.
"Keep my wife's name out of your (expletive) mouth," Smith shouted from his table.
"Wow, dude. It was a 'G.I. Jane' joke," Rock replied. Smith repeated his previous remarks.
Pinkett Smith has previously opened up about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that can cause hair loss on the scalp, face or other areas of the body, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
How did Chris Rock respond?
Rock did not file a formal police report against Smith and most of his responses to the incident came as off-hand remarks during his comedy shows.
However, during his 68-minute Netflix stand-up special, "Selective Outrage," which aired a week before the 2023 Oscars, he let it all out.
"People are like, 'Did it hurt?' It still hurts! I got summertime ringing in my ears!" he said. "But I'm not a victim, baby. You will never see me on Oprah, Gayle, crying."
He also pointed out his size disadvantage: "Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. He does movies with his shirt off! You've never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. If I'm in a movie getting open heart surgery, I got on a sweater. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie! You think I auditioned for that part? I played Pookie in 'New Jack City.' ... Even in animation, he's bigger: I'm a zebra, he's a shark."
He also joked that Smith's outrage was misplaced and brought up Jada's affair with rapper August Alsina.
Weeks later, Rock continued to talk about the slap during Adam Sandler's Mark Twain Prize ceremony. While on stage to sing Sandler's praises, he also got in a few jokes that didn't make his Netflix special.
"Paul Pelosi (is) the only guy who knows how I felt," Rock said.
"Just me and you, Paul," he added, addressing the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was injured in an attack at the Pelosis' home several months after the slap.
Did Jada Pinkett Smith respond?
Pinkett Smith addressed the slap two months after the even during an episode of her talk show "Red Table Talk," in which she emphasized compassion for both Smith and Rock.
"My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile," she said. "The state of the world today, we need them both, and we all actually need one another more than ever."
The "Girls Trip" actress had guests on the show to speak about the devastating effects of alopecia, including a mother whose daughter was bullied because of the condition.
Did Will Smith apologize?
The "King Richard" star publicly apologized twice for the incident. His first apology came March 28, the day after the Academy Awards. In a statement, he described his behavior at the ceremony as "unacceptable and inexcusable."
"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," Smith wrote at the time.
On July 29, he made his first on-camera apology with a YouTube video titled "It's been a minute ..." In it, Smith addressed why he didn't apologize to Rock when he won best actor just minutes after the confrontation.
"I was fogged out by that point. It's all fuzzy. I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out," Smith said. "So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you."
What has the Academy done to address the incident?
The Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences barred Smith from attending any Academy events, including the Oscars, for 10 years.
Smith had resigned from the Academy a week before the disciplinary actions were announced.
The Oscars also implemented a "crisis team" to handle any unexpected incidents during future shows.
Was the slap mentioned at the 2023 Oscars?
Host Jimmy Kimmel did not shy away from addressing the slap at the 2023 ceremony. In fact, he brought it up in his opening monologue, joking that with multiple Irish actors all in the running for Oscars, "the odds of another fight on stage just went way up."
He added, "We want you to feel safe, most importantly we want me to feel safe ... so we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence during this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech."
"Seriously," he added. "The academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug."
Kimmel brought up the incident several more times throughout the night.
In one final dig near the end of the show, Kimmel was seen walking up to a board on which was written: "Number of Oscars telecast without incident."
Kimmel promptly added the number 1.
All the Will Smith, Chris Rock news:
Oscars slap jokes: Jimmy Kimmel says angry actors would have to 'battle' Michelle Yeoh to slap him
Chris Rock's Netflix special: Comedian on the Will Smith slap (and Jada): 'I'm not a victim, baby'
Adam Sandler's Mark Twain Prize: Chris Rock jokes Paul Pelosi 'knows how I felt' after Oscars slap
Will Smith's Oscars future: What the Academy's 10-year ban means
'This is probably irreparable': Will Smith apologizes to Chris Rock in emotional video
Contributing: Kelly Lawler, Gary Levin and Hannah Yasharoff
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will Smith, Chris Rock and that 2022 Oscars slap: Here's what happened