People Were In Absolute Shock After Will Smith Walked On Stage And Slapped Chris Rock Live On-Air During The Oscars Broadcast

So that happened. Any montage of Oscar moments includes plenty of unplanned, often chaotic moments. At the 94th ceremony, which had already seen its share of madness, they got one for the ages. While presenting the award for Best Documentary (which went to Summer of Soul, by the way), Chris Rock made a G.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. (G.I. Jane, if you recall, is a Ridley Scott movie from 1997 starring Demi Moore as a female soldier.) Then something strange happened that left everyone deeply, profoundly confused.

After the joke, which drew gasps and boos, including from Pinkett Smith herself, her husband, Will Smith, nominated for King Richard, stood up, stalked up to the stage, and slapped the hell out of Rock. The sound cut out for what felt like an eternity. Smith was seen yelling angrily. Eventually the sound came back on, with Rock trying to save the moment with another, less offensive joke.

It took some time for everyone to figure out what happened, which was this: Smith repeatedly screamed, “KEEP MY WIFE’S NAME OUT OF YOUR F*CKING MOUTH.’” But even after that, everyone couldn’t believe what happened. Indeed, the words “What just happened” went viral.

Some pointed out that Pinkett Smith has the autoimmune disorder alopecia, which causes hair loss. She’s spoken about embracing the loss of her hair before, meaning Rock definitely struck a nerve.

Others shared video of the uncut exchange, which aired uncensored in other countries.

Some even slowed down the footage, showing how hard Smith struck Rock.

Others tried to guess if it was staged or real.

Others drew lessons from the moment.

And some highlighted the reactions by Lupit Nyong’o, sitting to Smith’s left.