One of the more passionate reactions to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards (remember that?) came from Billy Crystal. The comedian and multi-time Oscar host (like Rock) called it a “disturbing incident, for sure. It was an assault. I’ve had experiences. I hosted the Grammys three times and I’ve been thrown things.” (He was not thrown a Grammy for “You Look Marvelous,” however.)
Crystal was again asked about the Slap on Chris Wallace’s CNN+ series, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace, and he still sounds pretty steamed about what went down.
“So what did you think when suddenly Will Smith gets up?” Wallace asked Crystal, who replied, “Uh, oh. Uh-oh. And then, you know, fortunately, you know, it was a horrible thing. It’s, and it’s a crime. The fortunate thing is it wasn’t a closed fist, because then you might have had a Kermit Washington situation. It’s a basketball reference. Rudy Tomjanovich, when he just destroyed him.” Crystal thought Rock “handle[d] himself as well as he could,” but he’s worried for Smith. “It was a shocking moment that I was concerned. Very much for the mental state of Will. That’s what, I was kind of very worried and concerned and shocked by the aftermath of that, too,” he said.
Luckily for Crystal, he has other things to worry about, like the Yankees’ .500 record.