Chris Rock has spoken at length about being slapped by Will Smith during the Oscars, saying he “took that hit like Pacquiao” as he joked that it "still hurts" nearly a year later.
The comedian made the comment during his Netflix special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, which was the company’s first foray into live streaming. The 58-year-old kicked off his stand-up special joking: “I’m going to try and do a show without offending nobody. You never know who might get triggered. “Anybody that says words hurt have never been punched in the face.” Rock’s material immediately dovetailed into the 2022 Oscars, joking about “wokeness”, hypersensitivity and what he called “selective outrage”, after Hollywood actor Smith stormed the stage and slapped him.
It came after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her hair loss as a result of the medical condition alopecia.
He said: “You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith. Everybody knows. Yes it happened, I got smacked like a year ago. “People were like, did it hurt? It still hurts. I got Summertime ringing in my ears. “But I’m not a victim baby, you’ll never see me on Oprah crying. You will never see it. Never going to happen.” Joking about former boxer Manny Pacquiao, Rock said: “I took that hit like Pacquiao. Will Smith is significantly bigger than me, we are not the same size. “This guy does most of his movies with his shirt off, you’ve never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie, you think I auditioned for that part. “But, Will Smith practises selective outrage. Because everybody knows what the f*** happened. Everybody that really knows, knows that I have nothing to do with that s***. I didn’t have any entanglements.”
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He used the last moments of the special to explain why he did not retaliate to Smith’s slap. Rock said: “Because I got parents, that’s why, because I was raised. And you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”
The comedian also examined a wide range of other topics during the episode, including the Duchess of Sussex, the Kardashians, and the Capitol riot.
While Smith has apologised and repeatedly spoken about the incident since last March, Rock has avoided all the usual platforms where celebrities often go to air their feelings.
He never sat down with Oprah Winfrey, and turned away the many media outlets that would have loved to land an exclusive in-depth interview.
In the aftermath of last year’s events, Smith resigned his membership to the film academy. The academy board of governors banned Smith from the Oscars and all other academy events for a decade.
In July 2022, ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent reported on Will Smith making his first public statement in months in an attempt to mend fences with Chris Rock
A 'crisis' communications team will now be put in place for the 2023 Oscars to help producers handle any unscripted moments during the live show, Academy of Science and Motion Pictures CEO Bill Kramer told Time.
"We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place," Mr Kramer told the magazine.
"We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen."