Chris Rock Says He Turned Down 2023 Oscars Hosting Gig. Here's Why

A joke he made about murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson in the process hasn't gone over well.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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Chris Rock Oscars gettyimages-1388085533

Rock hosted the 2022 Academy Awards.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Chris Rock reportedly told an audience in Phoenix Sunday night that he'd turned down the chance to host next year's Academy Awards after he was famously slapped by Will Smith during this year's Oscars ceremony. 

The comedian went further in his show, however, comparing his situation with the 1994 murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. When Brown Simpson left her glasses behind after dining at an Italian restaurant, friend and waiter Ron Goldman offered to return them to her. He and Brown Simpson were found slain the following morning.

According to a report Monday by Arizona Republic, Rock said returning to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson "to go back to the restaurant."

Smith famously went on stage and slapped Rock after the latter made a joke about at his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's expense. Will Smith apologized in a video to Rock four months later. Smith was banned for 10 years from attending the Academy Awards as a consequence of the slap.

The Academy declined to comment on whether Rock was asked to return as host.

Rock also turned down the chance to be in a Super Bowl commercial, the report said, and during his show referenced how Smith had played boxer Muhammad Ali in a movie when saying the slap hurt. "The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith," Rock is reported as saying.

Rock's comments elicited adverse reactions on Twitter, with one person saying, "Men exaggerate something bad that happened to them while downplaying things that happen to women."

"Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered & nearly decapitated. How is that in any way comparable to being slapped?" another said.

One tweet pointed out that "Nicole Brown Simpson's family members are still alive and will most likely see this headline."

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