Comedian Chris Rock got a startling slap in the face from actor Will Smith at the Oscars Sunday night.
Before presenting the award for documentary feature, Rock took aim at Jada Pinkett Smith, telling her how much he was looking forward to watching her in “G.I. Jane 2.”
The 50-year-old actress shaved her head last year while revealing her battle with alopecia, which causes hair loss.
Will Smith responded by jumping on stage and hitting Rock in the face, before walking back to his seat. Rock is left shocked.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth,” Smith shouted multiple times at Rock as producers cut the audio.
In foreign language broadcasts, the audio remained on as Rock chuckled that “Will Smith just slapped the s—t out of me.”
Awkwardly, he continued, saying: “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”
Seated behind Smith in the audience, “Black Panther” actress Lupita Nyong’o caught the cameras, looking both stunned and slightly amused.
Smith had revealed in December that a bald patch had appeared near her hair line. “Now at this point, I can only laugh,” she said in an Instagram video then. “Y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here. Look at that.”
In 1997′s “G.I. Jane,” Demi Moore starred and appeared with a shaved head.
After the stunned audience settled, Sean “Diddy” Combs took the stage to introduce the in memoriam segment, but not before he tried to calm everyone down.
“I didn’t know that was going to be the most exciting Oscars ever,” he said. “OK, Will and Chris, we’ll gonna solve this like family at the Gold party. OK? But right now, we’re moving on with love. Everybody make some noise.”
From inside the Dolby Theatre, Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry could be seen pulling Smith aside during a commercial break, emphatically pantomiming for him to brush it off, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Bradley Cooper was also photographed hugging the actor.
Pinkett Smith and Rock have their own history even before Sunday’s ill-advised joke, dating back to the 2016 Oscars, hosted by Rock.
“Jada got mad, said she’s not coming. Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited,” Rock said during his opening monologue, which focused on the show’s lack of diversity.
“You get mad. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for ‘Wild Wild West.’ This year at the Oscars, things are going to be a little different. In the ‘in memoriam’ package it’s just going to be Black people who were shot by the cops on their way to the movies. Yes, I said it, all right?”