Following the very eventful 94th Academy Awards, celebrities weighed in on the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock in interviews and on social media. A few stood by the King Richard actor, while some condemned his act of violence and others defended Rock.
Comedian Tiffany Haddish said after the ceremony that she found the moment Smith stood up for Jada Pinkett Smith incredibly touching. “When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me,” she told People at the Governors Ball.
In his joke, Rock made fun of Pinkett Smith’s shaved hairstyle (the result of her alopecia, which causes hair loss), comparing her to G.I. Jane, the titular character of the 1997 film who has a close-shaven buzz cut. Immediately after, Smith walked up on the stage and slapped Rock. And once he was back in his seat, he yelled at Rock from across the room, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.”
Haddish, who starred in 2017’s Girls Trip with Pinkett Smith, said, “As a woman, who has been unprotected, for someone to say, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you.”
She added, “And that meant the world to me. And maybe the world might not like how it went down, but for me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”
Rapper 50 Cent joked about the altercation on Twitter. Alongside a photo of Smith slapping Rock, he wrote, “B!tch don’t you ever play with me. LOL.”
Rapper Nicki Minaj also voiced her opinion in a long string of tweets. “I love Chris Rock. I don’t think he would’ve made that joke had he known what Jada recently shared- but between him & the whole team @ the #Oscars you mean to tell me not ONE of y’all heard this woman just share this heartbreaking story? #ComeOnSon,” she wrote.
She then defended Smith’s reaction, saying that while people just saw the joke, he saw his wife’s “pain.” “Imagine what it must feel like to be losing your hair to the point where you have to shave it bald. You think that’s easy to deal with for anyone? You don’t think she’s cried about that many times?” Minaj added. “2022 y’all gon have to see these men about those jokes you made about their wives.”
Related article: The Best Dressed Stars At The 94th Annual Oscars Ceremony
Former One Direction member Liam Payne also, for some reason, weighed in on the fight, and seemed to support Smith. “I believe whatever he felt that he did, he had the right to do,” the singer told Good Morning Britain.
Payne also said Smith’s emotional speech and apology over the incident was a “powerful moment,” where “one of the world’s best emoters” spoke “from the heart.”
Smith and Pinkett Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, also seemingly reacted to the now-infamous slap. “And That’s How We Do It,” he tweeted.
But Smith also got a lot of criticism for his aggressive reaction to Rock’s joke.
“Violence isn’t ok. Assault is never the answer,” One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush tweeted, speaking of Smith’s outburst. She also criticized Rock’s joke, which led to Smith’s anger. “Also? This is the 2nd time that Chris has made fun of Jada on the #Oscars stage, & tonight he went after her alopecia. Punching down at someone’s auto-immune disease is wrong. Doing so on purpose is cruel. They both need a breather,” she wrote.
Bush also spoke about Pinkett Smith’s alopecia and retweeted writer-comedian Akilah Hughes‘s tweet, which read, “Everybody who stays silent when their coworkers are verbally abused in the workplace have a lot to say rn.” “I feel this one in my bones,” Bush wrote.
In a since-deleted tweet, The King of Staten Island director Judd Apatow strongly reacted to the Oscars feud. “He could have killed him [Rock]. That’s pure out of control rage and violence,” he wrote of Smith.
“They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind,” he added.
Mia Farrow sided with Apatow by posting a screenshot of his tweet. She also defended Rock, writing, “It was just a joke. Jokes are what Chris Rock does. Always has been edgy. This was a mild joke for him. And I love GI Jane.”
Farrow added, “What I saw was one of Hollywood’s most powerful movie stars,stalk onto a stage to strike a comedian for an unfortunate joke about his (gorgeous) wife’s shaved head. Anyone who is ok with that has probably never been hit by a powerful man. As we advise our kids, ‘use your words.'”
Ella Enchanted actress Minnie Driver also said at the after-party that the moment was “hard to watch.”
“We were all privy to something that was emotions running really high,” she said, adding that she hopes Smith and Rock “will make up later.”
Even NBA star Stephen Curry shared his thoughts on the slap on Twitter, following the awards show. “Like everybody..I’m still in shock about the whole thing- but in all the unnecessary drama, at least we got the line of the night from Denzel…’In your highest moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you!'” the athlete, who served as an executive producer for The Queen of Basketball, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject, wrote.
Actor and model Jodie Turner-Smith didn’t choose sides, but she wrote on Twitter late last night, “And as far as *that incident* goes….. I am still processing. I have second hand embarrassment for all involved.”
Though Smith and Rock have not publicly spoken about where they stand now, Diddy told Page Six that Smith and Rock were able to reconcile. “That’s not a problem. That’s over. I can confirm that,” he said. “It’s all love. They’re brothers.” He later tweeted, “Move on with LOVE.”
What we do know is that Rock refused to press charges against Smith (the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to BAZAAR.com), and Smith simply told Variety‘s Marc Malkin at Vanity Fair‘s Oscar after-party, “It’s all love.”
After the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement posted on Twitter that it “does not condone violence of any form.”
“Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world,” it said.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US