Did Chris Rock Sue Will Smith? The Aftermath of the "Slap Heard 'Round the World"

"I took that hit like Pacquiao."


Jun. 24 2024, Published 3:59 p.m. ET

chris rock will smith slap aftermath
Source: Getty Images

We all remember the "slap heard 'round the world" involving Will Smith and Chris Rock. It was that now-viral moment at the Oscars in March 2022 when viewers weren't sure if they were watching a skit or real life. After all, there was one of the biggest actors in the world storming onstage to deliver a slap to one of the funniest comedians of all time.

Of course, we all know now that it was indeed real life. So were there real-life consequences?

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In other words, fans are still wondering today: Did Chris Rock sue Will Smith after the actor slapped him onstage at the Academy Awards?

the slap heard round the world at the 2022 Academy Awards with Will Smith and Chris Rock
Source: Getty Images

The Slap Heard Round the World

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Did Chris Rock sue Will Smith?

The incident — which has its own Wikipedia page! — stemmed from a joke Chris made onstage at the Oscars during his hosting gig. More specifically, a joke about Will's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia.

Chris basically teased that Jada's shaved head would make her a good fit for a G.I. Jane sequel. This obviously didn't sit well with Will, who then took to the stage to slap Chris.

Amazingly, a bewildered Chris kept his cool onstage.

When Will — who would go on to win best actor for King Richard later that night — got back to his seat right after the slap, he yelled out at Chris to "keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth."

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The spectacle spawned a thousand memes and think pieces. Will initially made somewhat of an apology during his best actor speech, but not to Chris directly. Will then apologized specifically to Chris the next day via a social media message, and made another apology to the comedian via YouTube several months later. Will even got banned from the Academy Awards for a decade.

Chris Rock in leather jacket and Will Smith in purple sweater talking in 2010 at the Nickelodeon's 23rd Annual Kid's Choice Awards
Source: Getty Images

Chris Rock and Will Smith at the 2010 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards

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As for Chris, he made a reference to the slap a few days after it happened, mentioning it briefly while onstage during a comedy show. He would then go on to use it for material during his "Ego Death World Tour."

But did he sue Will?

No, Chris didn't sue. Instead, he basically did the next best thing: he was reportedly offered $40 million for a Netflix special.

It aired a year after the slap, and it was called Selective Outrage.

And Chris definitely made sure to address Will and the slap during his special.

"Y'all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Shug Smith," he joked at one point, later adding: "And people are like, 'Did it hurt?' It still hurts. I've got [Will's song] 'Summertime' ringing in my ears."

"But I'm not a victim, baby, you will never see me on Oprah or Gayle [King] crying. ... I took that hit like Pacquiao," he said.

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He later said that "Will Smith practices selective outrage, because everybody knows what the f--k happened, everybody really knows I had nothing to do with that s--t. I didn’t have any entanglements, I didn’t," referring to the explosive coverage around Jada and Will's confessions about their open marriage and infidelities over the past few years.

Chris had more to say about the whole thing, and the special is definitely worth a watch, but the comedian ended his bit about Will by joking, "A lot of people say, Chris, why did you do nothing back? How come you didn't do nothing back? Because I got parents, that's why. Because I was raised. I got parents, and you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people."

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