Oscars 2022: Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock? Jada Pinkett Smith alopecia joke explained - and is Will Smith likely to face charges or get his Oscar for Best Actor taken away?
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The incident at the 94th Academy Awards has everyone talking in the wake of the prestigious ceremony after it went viral, so for those who didn’t watch it live, here’s a run down of what happened.
What was Chris Rock’s joke about Jada Pinkett Smith?
Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett’s Smith’s shaven head – which has been worn in this way since July 2021 because she has alopecia. He said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”
Chris Rock joked that she was set to make GI Jane 2 – as the original 1997 film GI Jane sees Demi Moore play the title character with short, buzz-cut style hair.
What is alopecia?
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There are different types, including alopecia areata (patchy hair loss), alopecia totalis (total scalp loss), and alopecia universalis (universal hair loss across the entire body).
The autoimmune disorder causes your hair to come out, often in clumps the size and shape of a penny.
Jada Pinkett Smith revealed she had the disorder in 2018 during which she recalled losing "handfuls" of hair.
She said: "It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and then just handfuls of hair, just in my hands, and I was like 'Oh my God, am I going bald? It was one of those times in my life when I was literally shaking with fear."
Will Smith didn’t seem to like the joke made at his wife’s expense – unsurprising given she has spoken out about how difficult she found developing the condition.
He walked on stage and struck the presenter, before returning to his seat where he said: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.”
What role did Will Smith win Best Actor for?
Will Smith won the Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams - the father of Venus and Serena Williams - in King Richard.
What did Will Smith say in his apology during his Best Actor speech?
The actor apologised to his fellow nominees, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. However, he did not address Rock in his apology.
He said: "I want to apologise to the Academy. I want to apologise to my all my fellow nominees,"
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” said Smith.
"Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things."
He added: “I hope the academy invites me back.”
Can an Oscar be taken away?
There have been previous instances where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revoked or disqualified an Oscar nomination, but currently there's no rule in place which makes it possible for an Oscar to be stripped away after it's been awarded.
However, in 2017 the Academy did issue a statement in light of Hollywood sexual abuse.
AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote to members and said: “Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers.
“In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity.
“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency.
“The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.
“The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.”
So it remains to be seen what action will be taken regarding the incident involving Will Smith – however the Academy did tweet that it "does not condone violence of any form" following the incident.
Is Will Smith going to face charges for slapping Chris Rock?
The Los Angeles Police Department told Variety that Rock had "declined to file a police report" following the event.
Who has spoken out against Will Smith’s behaviour at the 2022 Oscars?
The Last Samurai producer Marshall Herskovitz called on the Academy to take disciplinary action against Smith.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill called the incident "the ugliest Oscar moment ever".
Alopecia UK has issued a statement saying it "does not condone violence in any form".
It said: "Dealing with unwelcome remarks and being the butt of jokes is sadly an all too real part of having alopecia. This just adds to the distress and challenges faced by people with alopecia. In a world where it's unacceptable to make jokes about someone's race, sexuality or disability, we believe the same should apply to jokes about visible difference. Such remarks or jokes should be called out as unacceptable or inappropriate.
"At Alopecia UK, we understand the difficult emotions that people affected by alopecia may feel, including loved ones of people with the condition. Alopecia UK is here to support anyone affected by any type of alopecia."