"That was [the] greatest night in the history of television. Okay!" Chris Rock subsequently said after being punched by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars.

Yes, that did happen at the prestigious award ceremony that was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022.

Why Did Will Smith Punch Chris Rock?

It all started when the comedian, Chris, came out to present the Oscar for Best Documentary. Upon his arrival at the big stage, he naturally began cracking jokes.

Later, when he saw Will, nominated for Best Actor for his work in King Richard, and the actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, seated in a place of honor, he took the opportunity to make what he thought was a tame joke.

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He stated that Jada, who is currently rocking a bald style because of autoimmune disorder alopecia, looks like she could star in G.I. Jane, a 1997 action drama film in which the protagonist, actress Demi Moore, has similar looks.

Even though Will laughed at the joke at first, he later indicated that he did not take kindly to the jest mocking his wife for embracing her genetic disorder. Hence, he stood up from his place, walked towards Chris, who was on the stage and slapped him hard on his face.

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on his face at the Oscars.

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on his face at the Oscars. (Photo: Twitter)

After smacking Chris in the face, Will yelled at him, "Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth!"

The Oscar audience, and the viewers from all across the world, were stunned by the actor's punch and viral uncensored clip, which first seemed like a comedic skit at first.

"Please tell me I didn't see what I just saw. Somebody please tell me that @willsmith was joking and it was part of the show when he just smacked @chrisrock on National Television. I'm begging y'all….please don't tell me @willsmith would do something like that???" TV personality Stephen A. Smith tweeted.

During the commercial break, Will's publicist Meredith O. Sullivan was spotted speaking with the actor privately, while Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry pulled Will to make him comfortable. 

In raw footage shared by The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Columnist Scott Feinberg, The Pursuit of Happyness actor seemed to be wiping tears from his eyes before sitting back down with his wife.

Will Smith Addressed the Slap While Receiving the Best Actor Award

The drama took place just a few categories before the best actor was announced.

And to no one's surprise, Will won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in King Richard, making him the fifth black actor to win the Oscars for Best Actor.

In the feel-good sports drama film, Will played the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

In his acceptance speech video, however, he first addressed the slap incident, saying, "Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family."

He later added, "I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I'm not crying for winning an award. It's not about winning an award for me. It's about being able to shine a light on all of the people."

All that said, the actor ended his speech on a lighter note, joking about his hopes to get invited back to the Oscars.