Chris Rock Hits Back: ‘Words Don’t Hurt Like a Punch to the Face’ After Will Smith’s Oscars Slap

The comedian was smacked in the face by Will Smith last year in front of cameras and a stunned audience of actors and celebrities.

Will Smith hits Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony


Image: Will Smith hit Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony

Chris Rock has spoken about being smacked in the face by actor Will Smith on the Academy Awards stage.

During the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles last year, Smith walked onto the stage and slapped Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of the actor’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, as he was about to present an award.

Rock’s joke had made a reference to the 1997 film GI Jane, in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.

It is still unclear whether the comedian was aware that Pinkett Smith has alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss, when he made the remark.

Speaking on Saturday on a Netflix live-streamed special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, Rock said he “took that hit like (former Filipino boxer) Pacquiao”.

He added: “You know what people say, they always say ‘words hurt’.

“That’s what they say.

“You’ve got to watch what you say.

“Because words hurt, you know.

“Anybody that says words hurt has never been punched in the face.”

This image released by Netflix shows promotional art for "Chris Rock: Selective Outrage" a comedy special streaming live on March 4. (Netflix via AP)
Image: Rock opened his set for Netflix’s first ever live comedy show Chris Rock: Selective Outrage. Pic: Netflix via AP

While Smith has apologised and repeatedly spoken about the incident since last March, Rock has avoided all the usual platforms where celebrities often go to air their feelings.

He never sat down with Oprah Winfrey, and turned away the many media outlets that would have loved to land an exclusive in-depth interview.

“I’m not a victim, baby,” said Rock.

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“You will never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying. You will never see it. Never going to happen.”

But Rock did use his encounter with Smith to shape and enliven his stand-up special for Netflix.

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