Despite being on the receiving end of one of the more controversial Oscar moments in recent memory, actor and comedian Chris Rock is insisting that he is not a victim.
According to an eyewitness who spoke to Us Weekly during his performance at PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey last Sunday, Rock seemingly referenced the moment at the 94th Oscars in which he was slapped onstage by actor Will Smith.
“I’m not a victim,” he reportedly told the crowd. ”Yeah, that s**t hurt, motherf**ker. I shook that s**t off and went to work the next day… I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.”
For those unfamiliar, during the 94th Academy Awards, Smith walked onstage and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head while he was presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature Film. In the wake of the incident, Smith issued an apology to both Rock and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Smith was also reportedly banned from attending any Oscar ceremonies for a decade.
During the comedy show, Rock seemingly continued the reference the infamous "slapgate."
“Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face,” he reportedly said. This isn’t Rock’s first time speaking out since the incident.
At his first show after the Academy Awards at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Rock referenced the slap before commencing his comedy show.
“I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kinda processing what happened. So at some point, I’ll talk about that s**t. So I’m gonna tell some jokes,” he said.
Rock's mother also spoke about the incident in April
“I told someone when Will slapped Chris, he slapped all of us, but he really slapped me,” she told Columbia, S.C. NBC affiliate WIS. “When you hurt my child, you hurt me.”
She continued, “I have no idea what I would say [to Will Smith] other than, ‘What in the world were you thinking?’ Because you did a slap, but so many things could have happened. Chris could have stepped back and fallen. You really could have gotten taken out in handcuffs. You didn’t think. You reacted to your wife giving you the side-eye, and you went up, and you made her day because she was bowled over laughing when it happened.”
She also gave her opinion on Rock's 10-year Oscars ban
“I wouldn’t take his award away, and I don’t see any good way they could have taken him out without disrupting,” she said.
And on his apology, she added, “I feel really bad that he never apologized. I mean his people wrote up a piece saying I apologize to Chris Rock, but you see something like that is personal, you reach out.”
Before he was banned from Academy events for 10 years, Smith also resigned from the org.
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” his statement said in part. “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home.I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
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