“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime,” she told local Philadelphia news outlet WPVI after the Sunday, March 27, awards show, calling her 53-year-old son “a very even people person” in his daily life. “I’ve never seen him do that.”
Smith raised eyebrows during the 94th annual Academy Awards on Sunday when he got out of his seat and slapped Chris Rock in the face in response to a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head. The comedian, 57, quipped that Pinkett Smith, 50, should be cast in a sequel to Demi Moore‘s 1997 movie G.I. Jane — but the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum believed Rock crossed the line.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth,” he shouted when he returned to the audience and sat beside the Red Table Talk host, who has been candid about her experience with alopecia and hair loss.
Us Weekly confirmed on Monday, March 28, that Rock did not file an official report with the Los Angeles Police Department after the incident. Smith, for his part, was spotted dancing the night away at an Oscars afterparty following his big best actor win for his role in King Richard.
While the altercation quickly became the most talked-about moment from the ceremony, Bright is more proud of the Will author’s latest addition to his trophy cabinet. “I know how he works, how hard he works,” she told WPVI. “I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. When I heard the name, I was just [like], ‘Yes!'”
Smith struggled to hold back tears during his emotional acceptance speech, during which he spoke about protecting his family at all costs. “Love will make you do crazy things,” he said, comparing himself to Serena and Venus Williams‘ father, Richard Williams, who he played in the 2021 biopic.
Producers were “scrambling” to carry on with the show after the incident with Rock, a source exclusively told Us, adding, “The higher-ups from the Academy, once they realized the slap was real, were first focused on making sure Chris was OK.”
According to the insider, Smith and the Saturday Night Live alum “did not see each other” after the slap. “Everyone knew where Chris and Will were afterward and were not about to let them interact again for safety reasons,” the source told Us. “There was plenty of back and forth about what to do about Will. In the moment, the reason to allow Will to stay was because Chris had gone backstage and there wasn’t a risk of them bumping into each other again.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stated on Monday that a “formal review around the incident” was being launched. Smith later addressed his “unacceptable and inexcusable” actions via Instagram, writing, “I reacted emotionally.”
The Men in Black actor called himself “a work in progress,” adding, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to The Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”