Smith stormed the stage on Sunday night (27 March) and slapped Rock after he made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s short haircut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”, in reference to the 1997 movie G.I Jane, starring Demi Moore sporting a similar buzzcut.
The comment prompted Smith to walk up on stage where he slapped the presenter, before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”
What did Chris Rock say about the incident?
Rock made reference to the incident at a show in Boston, saying he will talk about it properly “at some point” and when he did comment officially it would be “serious and funny”.
Addressing audiences at the top of his show, the comedian said: “How was your weekend?
“I don’t have a bunch of shit 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 shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
The 57-year-old reportedly received a standing ovation by his audience before kicking off his set.
It comes as the Academy revealed that Smith was asked to leave the 94th annual awards show after the incident, but refused.
Will Smith slapped Rock across the face after he made a joke about his wife’s hair (Photo: Getty Images)
Smith was asked to leave Oscars
The Academy said the Smith’s actions were “shocking” and “traumatic” to witness live on television as it apologised to Rock, praising his “resilience in that moment”.
Smith later returned to the stage to accept the award for best actor for his performance in King Richard and gave an emotional speech about the importance of protecting family.
In a statement, the Academy said: “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 recognise we could have handled the situation differently.
“Mr Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television.
“Mr Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment.
“We also apologise to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
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 defence.
The Academy said disciplinary action for Smith could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.
What has Will Smith said?
Smith apologised to The Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech following his win, and later to Rock on social media.
In a statement posted to Instagram he admitted he had reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.
The post said: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour 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.
“I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.
“I would also like to apologise to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologise to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.
“I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will.”
Pinkett Smith also called for a “season of healing” following the incident.
Smith’s behaviour has been heavily criticised by his Hollywood contemporaries, including Oscars’ co-host Wanda Sykes.
Speaking on the Ellen DeGeneres show, the actress and comedian said she was “still traumatised” and felt disappointed by the way the show had handled the “sickening” incident.
She also praised Rock’s response after the incident, revealing he had approached her to apologise about the incident because he knew it would overshadow her presenting efforts alongside Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.
She said: “I just felt so awful for my friend Chris. It was sickening, absolutely sickening. I physically felt ill and I’m still a little traumatised by it.
“And for them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, ‘How gross is this? This is just the wrong message’.”
“You assault somebody, you get escorted out the building and that’s it. But for them to let him continue, I thought was gross.”
Oscars showrunner Will Packer has described the altercation as “a very painful moment”, while comedian Jim Carrey called the Oscars audience “spineless” for applauding Smith’s win following his behaviour.