Chris Rock ‘still processing’ Oscar night slap from Will Smith

The comic, who was greeted with a standing ovation by fans as he hosted the latest leg of his US tour in Boston, also denied some reports in US media that he had spoken to Smith since the incident.

Meanwhile Oscars organizers revealed that Smith was asked to leave after hitting Rock, but refused.

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Smith, 53, won the leading actor gong for King Richard, but had stormed on stage prior to winning after reacting to a joke made by comedian Rock which referred to his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

A formal review into the incident has been launched to discuss what disciplinary measures will be taken, and Smith will reportedly be given the chance to provide a written defense before the Academy board meets again on April 18.

Rock, 57, told audiences: “How was your weekend? I don’t have a bunch of s*** about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend.

“I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that s***. And it will be serious and funny.”

The Academy, whose board of governors met on Wednesday, said disciplinary action for Smith could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions, and added in a statement: “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated.

“While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

The Academy issued a statement on Sunday night following the incident, but on Wednesday added that Smith’s actions were “a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television.”

They added: “Mr Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event. “

Smith returned to his seat in the Dolby Theater after slapping Rock, shouting twice to the stage: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Rock had joked about Jada’s buzzcut, saying on stage: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.”

The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia and how it had prompted her to shave her head.

A shocked Rock continued to present the best documentary feature gong which was won by Summer Of Soul.

Smith later returned to the stage to accept the Oscar and gave an emotional speech about the importance of protecting family.

He issued a formal apology to Rock on Instagram, admitting he had reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but said “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive.”

Pinkett Smith also called for a “season of healing” following the incident.

Smith’s behavior has been heavily criticized by his Hollywood contemporaries, including Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes.

Speaking on the Ellen DeGeneres show, the actress and comedian said she was “still traumatized” and felt disappointed by the way the show had handled the “sickening” incident.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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