Chris Rock Speaks Out About the Oscars Slap for the First Time: “It Still Hurts”

Chris Rock

Kirill Bichutsky / Netflix

Call it a slapback.

It’s been nearly a year since the 2022 Oscars, and more importantly, since the slap heard ’round the world, when Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. Rock has largely remained mum on the subject of the slap — a month after it happened, he said he wouldn’t talk about it “until I get paid.” Well, it seems like he finally did get that check: Chris Rock talked about the Oscars slap in his new comedy special, Selective Outrage. Here’s what he finally had to say.

What did Chris Rock say about Will Smith?

Chris Rock slapped back at Will Smith during his Netflix special, Selective Outrage, which was broadcast live from the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore. In his opening remarks, Rock made an allusion to the incident while saying he’d do his best not to offend anyone with his comedy: “You never know who might get triggered,” he said. “Anybody who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face.”

Later on, while joking about Snoop Dogg doing commercials for everything from wine to mortgages, he said, “I’m not dissing Snoop. The last thing I need is another mad rapper.” Later on, he made a similar joke when talking about Jay-Z: “I don’t need another rapper mad at me,” he said. “I don’t need that smoke!”

How did Chris Rock feel about the Oscars slap?

Chris Rock finally talked about the Oscars slap towards the end of his performance, and he didn’t hold back. He said he was “smacked by Suge Smith,” a reference to the co-founder of Death Row records who’s currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. Rock says of his face being on the receiving end of Smith’s palm, “I took that hit like Pacquiao.”

“People are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ear,” Rock joked.

Rock connected the Oscars slap to Jada Pinkett Smith and her so-called “entanglement” with August Alsina, a singer who was once friends with Will and Jada’s son, Jaden. “His wife was f*cking her son’s friend… She hurt him way more than he hurt me, OK?” Rock said that he called Smith to check in on him after the news of the affair broke, but he didn’t pick up. He categorizes Will Smith’s slap as selective outrage: “Everybody called that man a b*tch… They called his wife a predator… And who does he hit? Me,” someone Rock says Smith “knows he can beat.” That’s because, as Rock put it earlier on, “I know you can’t tell on camera, but Will Smith is significantly bigger than me.”

Before the on-camera assault, Chris Rock the Smiths had a working relationship that dates back to the 90s. They co-starred in the 1999 movie Torrance Rises and Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith both starred in the animated movie Madagascar. Rock said in his special, “I loved Will Smith” and “I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life.”

Their relationship may have started to sour in 2016, after Pinkett Smith boycotted the Oscars, which Rock hosted, over its lack of diversity (including the fact that her husband was snubbed for Best Actor in Concussion). Pinkett Smith asked Rock to turn down the hosting gig; he declined to do so. During his 2016 monologue, Rock joked about Pinkett Smith’s decision, saying, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!” He also quipped about one of Smith’s less successful movies, saying, “It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West, OK?”

In Selective Outrage, Rock related their disagreement about the 2016 Oscars to the 2022 slap: “[Jada] said me, a grown-ass man, should quit his job because her husband didn’t get nominated for Concussion,” and then her husband “gives me a f*cking concussion, OK?” He pushed back on claims that he was going after Jada: “She started this sh*t. Nobody was picking on her.”

He concluded by answering why he didn’t fight back, aside from the aforementioned size difference: “‘Cause I got parents, OK? I was raised…And you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”

Where can I watch Chris Rock’s special?

While the live broadcast of the special has ended, Selective Outrage is streaming now on Netflix.