Billy Crystal‘s weighing in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, and the 74-year-old comedian’s not mincing words when describing what he says transpired.

During an appearance on Bob Costa’s HBO Max show “Back on the Record”, Crystal said what the “King Richard” star did in physically confronting Rock was “assault.”

“It was a most disturbing incident for sure. It was an assault,” Crystal said. “I’ve had experiences. I hosted the Grammys three times and I’ve been thrown things.”

Crystal, who has been the emcee nine times at the Academy Awards, said there was a method to how he went about hosting the high-profile awards show.

“In [Oscars] pre-production, the amazing Gill Cates, we would go through — he was the producer for six of the nine that I did — we would go through the rundown and I’d say, ‘Maybe I should be there because something might happen there. If that person wins, I should follow that.”

Just about everyone has chimed in on the slap heard around the world, including Oscars co-host Amy Schumer, who recently recalled on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” being backstage following Smith’s Oscar win and slapping incident.

“I was backstage, and I knew I had to go out. I was kind of the only host that was going out solo after that, so it really felt like the Situation Room of comedy,” she shared. “We were all watching the monitor, and then he won, like, everybody, we were just kind of floored. And I was just thinking about, ‘What am I going to do when I go out there?'”

Schumer was one of the three female co-hosts of the awards show, and it marked the first time the show had a host since Jimmy Kimmel hosted in 2018.  Kevin Hart was named the 2019 frontman, but dropped out after past inappropriate tweets resurfaced. The ceremony did not have a host in 2019, 2020 or 2021. And, on that topic, Crystal also had something to say about no-host events.

“I sort of set myself up to host the show, really host the show, so you can tie it in together,” he explained. “So, whenever I see shows that it’s a no-host show, yeah, it went faster, but there’s nobody there to capitalize on anything and give the audience the feeling of there’s somebody in charge.”


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