The smack heard ’round the world will not result in any charges — for now. According to NBC News, comedian Chris Rock declined to press charges against Will Smith after the Oscar-winning actor stormed the stage at the 2022 Academy Awards Sunday (March 27) and smacked Rock across the face with an open hand following a joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the department said in a statement, NBC reported. “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.”
When contacted by Billboard, a spokesperson for the LAPD confirmed the report.
NBC News reported that spokespeople for Rock did not return requests for comment, and that senior sources at the LAPD said officers typically don’t take action in this kind of suspected misdemeanor battery investigation unless the victim wants to press charges or help fill out an incident report.
Presenting the award for best documentary feature, Rock took the stage with some playful jabs at celebs in the audience. After making jokes about Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Denzel Washington, Rock said, “Jada, I love you, G.I Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” seemingly referring to the actress’s bald head. Pinkett Smith previously opened up about living with alopecia — an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss — in 2018, and more recently in a December Instagram video.
Though Smith seemed to laugh at first, the actress frowned and did not seem amused. The actor then jumped up from his seat soon after and walked onto the stage in what seemed at first to be a planned comedic bit. But after Smith appeared to angrily slap Rock in the face, the stunned-looking comedian stammered a bit, then remarked, “Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” which was followed by a long silence on the live broadcast in which the actor repeatedly demanded that the comedian “keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.” Unedited international broadcasts of the incident provided the heated audio in full.
A short time after the incident that became an instantly viral moment, eliciting wildly ranging responses from comedians, fellow actors and the Smith’s son, Jaden (who tweeted “And That’s How We Do It”), Will Smith took the stage to accept the best actor award for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, in King Richard. In the tearful speech, Smith referred to the often-controversial Williams patriarch as a “fierce defender of his family,” and went on to apologize to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock.
It was not the first time that Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith have clashed over his comments at the Oscars. When Rock hosted in 2016 and Pinkett Smith was boycotting the event over the “Oscars So White” controversy, Rock joked at the event, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.” She later responded, “Hey, look, it comes with the territory. We gotta keep it moving.”