At a recent comedy show in Holmdel, N.J., Chris Rock addressed being slapped by Will Smith in the most direct way yet.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock said, per Variety, later adding, “I’m not a victim. Yeah, that shit hurt, motherfucker. But I shook that shit off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”
Rock is currently touring with Kevin Hart and had not previously said much about the incident. Except at one solo comedy show in Boston right after the Oscars, where he said, “I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” he told the audience. “I’m still kind of processing what happened. So at some point, I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
The now-infamous slap occurred at the 94th Academy Awards while Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary—which went to the Questlove directed, Summer of Soul.
During the presentation, Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife—Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. The actress suffers from alopecia and the comments prompted Smith to walk onto the stage and strike the comedian later yelling from his seat for Rock to keep Jada’s name out of his mouth.
Smith later won his first Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. Following the incident, Smith released a statement of apology, saying in part, “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”
He has been banned from membership in the Academy and from attending Academy events for the next decade.