Chris Rock Finally Talks About Will Smith Slap in Netflix Special
Almost exactly one year after the infamous incident at the Academy Awards where Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock in the face after Rock had made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Rock finally talked publicly about the incident — at the end of his new (and, for the first time on Netflix, live) comedy special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.
After a special touching on topics ranging from politics to women to his daughter getting kicked out of her high school to, yes, selective outrage (which Rock accused Smith of practicing), Rock closed the show with an extended series of jokes aimed at both Smith and Pinkett Smith and their relationship.
“You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Shug Smith,” Rock joked. Everybody knows, everybody fucking knows. I got smacked like a year ago… People are like ‘Did it hurt?’ I still got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears.”
He also addressed the fact that while Smith slapped him, he did not attempt to strike Smith back, quipping “Will Smith is a big dude, I am not. Will Smith is shirtless in his movies. If you see me in a movie getting open heart surgery, I got on a sweater. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali, you think I auditioned for that? I played Pookie in New Jack City.”
In the aftermath of the slapping incident, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and then was banned from attending the Oscars for ten years. He did release a statement at that time calling his actions “shocking, painful, and inexcusable” then followed that several months later with a video apology. He also appeared on The Daily Show and discussed the incident there, saying the slap was “the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know, is that you know, all of that just bubbled up in that moment. You know, I just that’s not who I wanna be.”
Rock, who insisted he is not a victim in the whole brouhaha, took a slightly different approach and tone in his special. He did note that he had “loved” Smith as a fan his whole life. He revealed that he saw Smith open for Run DMC decades ago and said that Smith “makes great movies.” Then, he added, “Now I watch Emancipation just so I could watch him get whooped.”
Rock’s new comedy special, Selective Outrage, is now available on Netflix.