After Rock joked to Smith that he was looking forward to a sequel to “G.I. Jane,” Smith stood up from his seat near the stage, walked up to Rock and slapped him.
Rock’s reference was made from the 1997 film “G.I. Jane,” starring Demi Moore, who shaved her head to portray a fictional Navy SEAL candidate.
Pinkett Smith revealed in 2018 that she was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes rapid hair loss.
After sitting back down, Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.”
As soon as the incident happened, social media erupted. Some people were in support of Smith, others said he crossed the line.
One Twitter user said, “Chris Rock’s joke was messed up. Will Smith’s actions were even more messed up. Smith could have walked up and taken the mic to discuss it, he could have yelled what he did from his seat, or he could have risen above it. Assaulting Rock was the wrong thing to do. No excuse!”
“I don’t care if his wife suffers from alopecia or not. He laughed at the joke himself. The fact that there are people defending him is actually outrageous. Chris Rock got the whole room laughing, Will Smith got the whole room cringing,” another person said on Twitter.
“Awful lessons from the Oscars. After Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock, he received applause. A-list celebs rushed over to comfort him. He was then invited onstage to receive an Oscar, and used his speech to justify his behavior— ‘love made him do it.’ None of this was okay,” another tweet said.
Another tweet shared support of Smith: “I support what Will Smith did I’m tired of people with physical and mental disabilities being the butt of people’s jokes. As someone with both physical and mental disabilities, it’s all I’ve known.. If someone made a similar joke about my partner or me, I would slap them too.”
And that wasn’t the only one.
“I support what Will Smith did. What would you do if someone made jokes about your wife when she was sick? There’s a difference between jokes and insults,” read another tweet.
One user called the incident “disgusting.”
“The worst moment ever at the Oscars by Will Smith. Will Smith is an entitled rich idiot. WS talking about peace and love after he smacks Chris Rock ruined all the winners night. WS will be remembered for that disgusting moment at the Oscars!” explained the Twitter user.
Another tweet joked about it.
“I can’t wait for The Simpsons fans to say the Will Smith and Chris Rock incident was predicted in season 15 Episode 200,” the Twitter user shared.
Another tweet praised Rock.
“Chris Rock showed integrity and professionalism on stage as he always does. Will Smith showed a lack of respect to another performer on stage And worse showed the world how not to resolve Conflict Kudos to Chris Rock showing class. total loss of respect to Will Smith no class.”
There were also several memes shared across social media.
The Los Angeles Police Department said that Rock is declining to file a police report against Smith.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.