Will Smith slapping Chris Rock did not sit well with Jim Carrey.
On Tuesday’s “CBS Mornings”, during a conversation with New York Times journalist Jenna Wortham, host Gayle King shared a clip from an interview with Carrey, reacting to the big incident at the Oscars.
During the awards show, Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her shaved hairstyle, which she wears as a result of alopecia. Smith reacted by walking up onto the stage and smacking Rock.
Minutes later, Smith accepted the award for Best Actor, delivering a tearful acceptance speech to a standing ovation.
Responses to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars have been divided — but Jenna Wortham (@jennydeluxe) says most people don’t have the full story of the incident.
“It’s something of a magnitude that I don’t think can be worked out on a public stage,” she says. pic.twitter.com/5qXIq30Y1F
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 29, 2022
Asked for his reaction to the incident, Carrey said, “I was sickened, I was sickened by the standing ovation. I felt like Hollywood is just spineless unmasked. It really felt like, Oh this is a really clear indication that we are not the cool club anymore.”
When King noted that some have said that had anyone else slapped Rock, they would have been escorted from the room and possibly arrested, Carrey said, “Should have been!”
On Rock’s decision not to file a report with the police, he said, “He doesn’t want the hassle. I would have announced this morning I was suing Will for $200 million because that video is gonna be there forever. It is going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time. If you want to yell from the audience or disapprove or say something on Twitter, but you do not have the right to walk up onstage and smack somebody in the face because they said words.”
King agreed, but added that she felt that the situation had escalated to that level.
“It didn’t escalate, it came out of nowhere because Will has something going on inside him that’s frustrated and I wish him the best, I really do, I don’t have anything against Will Smith, he has done great things, but that was not a good moment,” Carrey responded.
“It cast a pall over everybody’s shining moment last night,” he continued. “A lot of people worked really hard to get to that place, and to have their moment in the sun and to get their award for the really hard work they did. It is no mean feat to go through the stuff you have to when nominated for an Oscar. It is a gauntlet of emotion you have to do and it was just a selfish moment that cast a shadow over the whole thing.”
Asked by Wortham for her own opinion on the incident, King said, “Listen, I just felt deeply saddened by it. You have two people who are at the top of their game. And I found it very painful. I could not sleep. And I just think it’s unfortunate.”
She continued, “I don’t think Chris Rock was trying to be malicious. I also know that there seems to be history that Will was feeling some kind of way about the Oscars from 2016, I don’t know. But I just think it took so much away from the event that night, and I think many people were let down.”
Finally, King added, “I just think there have to be consequences when you stand up and do something like that on such a public stage … I find the whole thing, to be honest with you, deeply, deeply painful.”
Paula Abdul, who served as a guest host on “The Talk”, agreed with Carrey.
“What’s wrong with us if we’re going to give a standing ovation to a man that just got violent with someone over a joke? I stand with Jim Carrey on that,” Abdul said.
Akbar Gbaja-Biamila agreed with Abdul.
“If Chris Rock was Regina [Hall], Wanda Sykes, a woman, and that had happened, Will Smith doesn’t get honoured on stage, no one’s standing up. Makes you think, like how does Hollywood feel about a man being assaulted?” Gbaja-Biamila said.
“In that moment, everyone just says we’re going to pretend like that didn’t happen, and just keep clapping. And that’s wrong, that’s a disservice to Chris. They just told Chris Rock how they felt about him as a comedian and how they felt about him as a man.”