Chris Rock made his first public appearance since Will Smith slapped him at the Oscars on Sunday night. The comedian told fans in Boston, where he was hosting the latest leg of his US tour, that he is “still processing what happened”
Rock, who received a standing ovation from the audience, also denied reports in the American media that he had spoken to Smith since the incident.
Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after hitting Rock, but he refused. After the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, a result of the hair-loss condition alopecia, Smith slapped the comedian.
“How was your weekend?” Rock greeted the crowd jokingly at his show at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre before stating that he did not intend to address the incident in depth.
The 57-year-old, who is currently on tour in the United States with his “Ego Death” show, told fans that he wrote the show “show before all this nonsense happened,” but promised to address the incident in the near future.
“I’m still kind of processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that,” Rock said. “And it’ll be serious and it’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”
Rock’s remarks come as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, revealed that Smith was asked to leave the event following the incident.
“Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused,” the statement said, “but we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.” It also stated that it had “initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct” and apologized to Rock.
The Academy stated that action could be taken at its next board meeting on April 18th. According to the statement, this could include “suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions”
Jimmy Kimmel, a talk show host who hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018, said: “When someone is asked to leave and refuses, security usually comes in and takes that person away. In this case, however, they decided to award him an Oscar and allow him to return to the stage to speak.”
On Sunday night, just before Smith won the Oscar for best actor, comedian Chris Rock was on stage to present the award for best documentary.
Rock remarked on Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. The joke was a reference to Demi Moore’s performance as the title character in the 1997 film GI Jane, in which she had a severe buzzcut.