“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” they shared in a Twitter post. “Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”
Amid the live broadcast, Chris, 57, joked about Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, starring in a G.I. Jane sequel, which was seemingly a dig at her hair loss condition alopecia. After the joke, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air star, 53, walked on stage and slapped Chris.
“Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” the comedian told viewers, according to an uncensored video of the moment, which has been repeatedly shared on social media. Once Will returned to his seat, he yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth.”
Minutes after the altercation, Will took the stage once again after winning Best Actor for his work as Serena and Venus Williams‘ father Richard Williams in the 2021 film King Richard. The actor was visibly emotional, shedding tears during his speech.
“Denzel [Washington] said to me, ‘At your highest moment, be careful — that’s when devil comes for you.’ It’s like I want to be a vessel for love. I want to say thank you to Venus and Serena and thank you to the total Williams family for entrusting me with their story,” Will said through tears. “I want to apologize to the academy, I want to apologize to my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not, I’m not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.
He continued, “Art imitates life, I look just like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
After the show, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Variety that Chris had no plans to file a police report after the public incident.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another,” the statement read. “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.”
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