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Academy Awards denounces violence after Will Smith slaps Chris Rock

Associated Press/Chris Pizzello

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is distancing itself from an incident that took place during its annual awards show Sunday night in which actor Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock in the face on stage for a joke about Smith’s wife. 

“The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” the organization said in a statement issued overnight. “Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.” 

Smith stormed the stage Sunday night after Rock made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock quipped, referring to Demi Moore’s character in the 1997 film “G.I. Jane,” whose head was shaved.

In 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed that she had alopecia areata, a disease that causes hair loss. She has frequently discussed the challenges of hair loss on social media.

After Smith slapped Rock, he returned to his seat and was heard on cameras in the room shouting at the comedian to “keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.” 

Smith later won the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams in the blockbuster film “King Richard.”

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said late Sunday that Rock is declining to file a police report following the incident, which was captured on live television and sent social media abuzz instantly. 

–Updated at 7:44 a.m. 

Tags actors Jada Pinkett Smith Will Smith

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