In footage that has now been viewed countless times across the globe, Smith took to the stage for the first time at last night’s ceremony to slap Rock in retribution for a barbed joke against his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The 57-year-old comedian incited Smith’s unexpectedly violent reaction after making reference to Jada’s shaven head, remarking: “Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”
Jada has openly suffered from the hair loss disorder alopecia for several years, previously opening up about its effect on her self-image.
Immediately following the altercation, Smith was spotted being comforted by friends and fellow actors Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry and Bradley Cooper. Taking to the stage once more to accept his award for Best Actor, Smith revealed that Washington had warned him, “Be careful, at your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Reactions to what was quickly entombed as the most memorable moment of the evening flooded in online. Among them was a tweet from Smith’s son, Jaden, who appeared to praise his father’s actions: “And That’s How We Do It”.
And That’s How We Do It
— Jaden (@jaden) March 28, 2022
Wtaf????? That wasn’t scripted????? ????????
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 28, 2022
“B!tch don’t you ever play with me. LOL,” wrote 50 Cent.
— 50cent (@50cent) March 28, 2022
“Let me tell you something, it’s very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a comedian,” said Kathy Griffin. “Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theatres.”
Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian.
Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 28, 2022
“Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late-night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?” joked former talk show host Conan O’Brien.
Just saw the Will Smith slap. Anyone have a late night show I can borrow just for tomorrow?
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) March 28, 2022
“It made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about the women, their wives.”