Chris Rock has reportedly declined to host the Oscars next year because of Will Smith slapping him at this year’s ceremony.
According to The Arizona Republic, the comedian told the audience that he declined the gig during his show at Phoenix’s Arizona Financial Theatre on Sunday (August 28).
The comedian reportedly compared the Oscars incident to the famed murder trial of O.J. Simpson’s. Rock said returning to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant.” The night Nicole Brown-Simpson was murdered, she ate at an Italian restaurant (and many have taken issue with Rock making a joke about this).
At this year’s Oscars, Smith slapped Rock for comparing his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, to “G.I. Jane” (Demi Moore’s character from the film G.I. Jane) due to her shaved head. Rock did not know that Jada suffered from alopecia, which is why her head was shaved. In response, Will slapped Rock and returned to his seat yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.” The actor has since been banned from the Academy for 10 years for his actions.
Will recently apologized to Rock via a YouTube video last month where he explained why he didn’t apologize to the comedian during his acceptance speech for his lead role in King Richard. “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Will then began to apologize to Rock’s mother after seeing how hurt she was in an interview post-slap.”I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and complexities of what happened in that moment. I can say to all of you there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
The day after the Academy Awards (March 28), Smith apologized to Rock and the Academy in an Instagram post writing, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
Take a look at the full video below: