Chris Rock says Will Smith’s embarrassment over his “entanglement” drama was the true motive behind their now infamous incident at the 2022 Oscars.
According to Variety, Rock didn’t address the slap until about an hour into his new Netflix special Selective Outrage, which aired live on Saturday night (March 4). When he finally did get to the topic, he explained that Will Smith actually inspired the title for the special.
Will Smith practices ‘Selective Outrage,’” Rock explained. “Everybody who really knows, knows I had nothing to do with that shit. I didn’t have any ‘entanglements.’ His wife was fucking her son’s friend. I normally would not talk about this shit…
“I have no idea why two talented people would do something that fucking lowdown,” he continued. “We’ve all been cheated on. Everybody in here been cheated on. None of us has ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us… on television. She hurt him way more than he hurt me.”
Chris Rock went on to tell the crowd that he attempted to reach out to Will Smith and offer his support following his now infamous sit down on Jada Pinkett-Smith Red Table Talk.
“Everybody in the world called him a bitch,” he said, later referencing The Breakfast Club, Drink Champs, and other talk shows that poked fun at the situation. “I tried to call the motherfucker. I tried to call that man and give him my condolences. He didn’t pick up for me. Everybody called him a bitch and who does he hit? Me.”
As to what led him to include Jada Pinkett-Smith in his onstage commentary at the Oscars, Chris Rock flat out said that she “started it” when she singled him out for agreeing to host the awards show in 2016.
“She fucking said [I] should quit because Will didn’t get nominated for ‘Concussion,’” he quipped. “What the fuck? So then I do some jokes about it. Who gives a fuck? That’s how it is. She started it. I finished it. Nobody’s picking on this bitch. She started this shit. Nobody was picking on her.”
While Chris Rock has yet to publicly address the slap outside of his stand-up sets, Will Smith has been openly remorseful.
Shortly after the incident, the Oscar-winner issued a statement apologizing to Rock and the Academy, admitting his behavior was “unacceptable and inexcusable.” That was followed by an earnest apology video in July 2022, in which he extended his regrets to Chris Rock’s family and revealed he had spent months unpacking the “nuances” and “complexities” of his outburst.
Disappointing people is my central trauma,” Smith said. “I hate when I let people down. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me. I made a mistake, and I’m trying not to think of myself as a piece of shit.
However, as the one-year anniversary of the slap approaches, it appears Will Smith has begun to see the funny side of it. Last month, the actor made light of the moment in TikTok video, which saw him participate in an “unhinged exercise” encouraging people to pick up an object and ask how it sees or thinks of them.
The woman behind the challenge claimed people would get an answer back in their minds through their intuition. An intrigued Smith grabbed the Oscar he won at the 2022 ceremony, looked at it and seemed to struggle to ask the question before the clip purposely cut off.
According to Decider, earlier this week, Chris Rock fired off a biting joke about hate-watching Smith’s latest film during a recent show at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, telling the crowd: “The other day, I watched Emancipation just so I could watch him getting whipped.”
The 58-year-old also reportedly mentioned Smith’s portrayal of Muhammad Ali in the 2001 biopic Ali, contrasting it with his own role as the homeless drug addict Pookie in 1991’s New Jack City.
“The thing people wanna know … did it hurt? Hell yeah, it hurt,” he said. “He played Muhammad Ali! I played Pookie. Even in animated movies I’m a zebra, he’s a fucking shark.”
He included a similar joke in his Selective Outrage set.