A day after actor Will Smith created a furore by slapping Chris Rock live onstage at the Oscars 2022, questions are being raised if the incident was staged to improve the ratings of the Academy Awards. Smith issued an apology after rumors about a possible action against the actor gained momentum on social media.
As reported previously, Smith lost his cool and slapped Rock after the latter cracked a joke at his wife. Reportedly, this all started as Rock, while presenting an award, cracked a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith about a sequel to G.I Jane and her bald head. Offended over the joke, Smith walked towards the stage, slapped Rock and returned to his seat.
Smith Was Caught Laughing at Rock's Jokes
Several videos have surfaced on social media showing Smith laughing off at the jokes being cracked by the host on the stage during the live event.
After slapping Rock, the Concussion star shouted, "Keep my wife's name out of your fu**ing mouth."
In an apology issues later, Smith while calling himself a "work in progress," the Academy Award winner said that his behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable."
"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us," he added in the statement posted on Instagram.
Was the Slap Staged?
Despite the apology, there were several social media users who insisted that the entire act was staged by the two stars in order to boost the ratings of the award show.
"Is it me or did Will Smith slap of Chris Rock look fake to boost bad ratings of oscars? Watched video over & over weird stuff," wrote a Twitter user.
"Especially because it was fake. Will Smith and Chris Rock are friends. The Oscar's are rehearsed. The video slowed is exactly what they teach when faking a slap. The Oscar's have had awful ratings over the last couple years. Come on y'all. It was a stunt for ratings," read another tweet.
"Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars is a staged stunt. They knew no one outside of California cared about this so they staged this fake slap stunt in order to boost ratings and get people talking. End of story," opined a user.
"It wasn't apparently but from what I saw it looked like a 'Hollywood' slap...so fake. The swearing at Chris...called 'acting' by Will Smith. I suppose ratings were down so they had to do something, however, what the Oscars didn't count on was so many complaints about this prank," wrote a user.