Chris Rock has broken his silence over Will Smith hitting him onstage at the Oscars on Sunday (27 March).
The comedian addressed the altercation on Wednesday night (30 March) at the sold-out Boston show of his Ego Death tour, where he said he was “still processing” what happened last weekend.
Smith struck and swore at Rock after the 57-year-old comedian made a joke about the appearance of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, live on stage at the Oscars awards ceremony. The slap made headlines around the world and Smith is now facing the prospect of disciplinary action from the Academy.
Rock spoke about the incident for the first time in his opening comments to the audience at his show in Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, beginning by saying: “Soooo, how was your weekend?”
After the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation, Rock, 57, continued: “Let me be all misty and s***”, with tears in his eyes.
“I don’t have a bunch of s*** to say about that, so if you came here for that…” Rock added, saying: “I had written a whole show before this weekend.
Ticket sales for Rock’s Ego Death tour shows skyrocketed in the aftermath of the altercation at the Oscars, as celebrities and fans alike expressed shock and condemnation of Smith’s actions.
“I’m still processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that s***,” the 57-year-old comedian also said on Wednesday, adding, “It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”
Smith has publicly apologised to Rock in a statement posted to the actor’s Instagram account, acknowledging that “I was out of line. I was wrong.”
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In his apology, the King Richard actor said Rock’s “joke about Jada’s medical condition” was too much for him to “bear”, but added that “violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive”.
Pinkett Smith has previously opened up about shaving her head over the actor’s struggles with an auto immune disorder called alopecia. Sources close to Rock have said he had “no idea” about Pinkett Smith’s condition.
The Academy in a statement on Wednesday night said it had initiated “disciplinary proceedings” against Smith for violating its Standards of Conduct “including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behaviour, and compromising the integrity of the Academy”.
Smith now faces possible suspension, expulsion or other sanctions – to be decided at the Academy’s next board meeting on 18 April.
In its statement, the Academy also revealed that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony but “refused”. Smith later apologised directly to Rock as well as to the nominees, guests and viewers of the 94th Academy Awards.