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Chris Rock Won't Press Charges Against Will Smith for Oscars Slap

The LAPD said Chris Rock declined to file charges against Will Smith.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
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Daniel Van Boom
2 min read
Chris Rock recoils after being slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars.

Chris Rock recoils after being slapped by Will Smith. 

Myung Chun/Getty

Apple TV film CODA won best picture at the Oscars, but that was far from the most talked-about event of the night. In a bewildering moment, Will Smith walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock in response to a joke Rock made at the expense of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Smith has been criticized heavily on social media for the action, with many arguing he should be charged for assault. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, however, Rock has declined to press charges.

"LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program," an LAPD statement reads. "The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report."

The slap occurred after Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith starring in a new G.I. Jane movie because of her shaved head. (Pinkett Smith has the condition alopecia, which causes hair loss.) Smith walked on stage, slapped Rock and, in a painfully surreal moment, swore at Rock to "keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth." 

Smith later in the night won the best actor Oscar for his role in King Richard, in which he plays Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. In his acceptance speech, he apologized to the academy and to the attendees, but not to Rock. "Art imitates life," Smith said at the end of his speech. "I look like the crazy father, just like Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things." 

Many at first thought the punch was scripted bit, but it slowly dawned on viewers that what they just saw was real.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a statement said it "does not condone violence of any sort." 

It's the second time Rock had made a joke about Pinkett Smith on the Oscars stage. While hosting the awards night in 2016, he referenced Pinkett Smith boycotting the event due to its lack of diversity: "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties -- I wasn't invited!"