Oscars 2022: Chris Rock praised for carrying on after Will Smith slap

Punters praised Chris Rock’s composure after being slapped by Will Smith in front of shocked celebrities (Picture: AFP)

Comedian Chris Rock has been applauded after carrying on presenting at the 2022 Oscars, following an altercation with Will Smith that will go down in Academy history.

Overnight the biggest event in the Hollywood calendar took place, however people are talking not of the red carpet looks, or the night’s winners – the talk of tinseltown is the moment actor Smith (who would go on to win an Oscar for his role in King Richard not long after) hit Rock on stage, shocking celebrities in the audience and at home.

Smith appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair before he strolled onto the stage and smacked him in front of the star-studded audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Red Table Talk host Pinkett Smith has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

Returning to his seat, Smith shouted at Rock: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth,’ to which Rock responded: ‘Wow, dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke.’

While many felt Rock’s joke was offensive and ‘ableist’, and backed Smith’s actions out of loyalty to his partner, others have stood by the comedian for continuing to present despite Smith ‘smacking the sh*t’ out of him.

The star looked visibly shaken as he attempted to process the moment, looking to the side of the stage and seemingly stopping himself from saying something, before going on to present the documentary prize (which went to Summer of Soul director Questlove).

Watching from home, punters shared their admiration for Rock’s composure after being slapped on live TV – with it later emerging he declined to press charges against Smith.

Rosie O’Donnell wrote, in part, on Twitter: ‘Bravo to Chris Rock – for not eviscerating will smith – which he could do any day of the week – he walked away…’

Melissa Hobley noted: ‘I have to say…you gotta hand it to Chris rock who kept his composure on LIVE TELEVISION after getting clocked by the guy who played Muhammad Ali,’ while another social media punter was baffled by Rock’s reaction: ‘How Chris Rock kept his composure and finished his hosting after the slap is something I admire pure professionalism because I would have walked tf off that stage man.’

Noting the star’s professionalism, another mused: ‘No one talking about Chris Rock just carrying on like normal. That was next level pro stuff!’

Be that as it may, others were calling on Rock to apologise to Pinkett Smith, the butt of the joke which prompted the altercation, with Sharon Stone writing on Instagram: ‘I would also like to hear Chris Rock’s apology to Jada.’

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at the Oscars.

Rock’s joke centred on Pinkett Smith’s, here with Smith ahead of the ceremony (Picture: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jameela Jamil also chimed in, saying Smith wasn’t the only one at fault: ‘Will Smith said “Not Today”. A man big enough to absolutely floor him, slapped him softly enough that Chris barely moved, because he made fun of his wife’s alopecia on a world stage.

‘Don’t say #protectBlackwomen for two years and then only condemn Will here. Come on…’

She added to a commenter: ‘Nothing to say about it disrespecting a Black woman about her health in front of the world where she has no mic to respond… eh?’

It later emeged Rock declined to press charges, with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirming no police report has yet been filed.

An LAPD spokesperson told the PA news agency: ‘LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme.

‘The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.

‘If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.’

MORE : Liam Payne’s mysterious new accent baffles fans as he weighs in on Will Smith punch: ‘He sounds Dutch’

MORE : Oscars 2022: Will Smith’s son Jaden reacts after Chris Rock punch and best actor win: ‘And that’s how we do it’

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