Chris Rock says he declined hosting Oscars 2023 after this year's slapgate

Rock said the Academy asked him to return to host for the third time after the infamous moment at the 2022 ceremony

Entertainment Desk August 31, 2022
Will Smith (R) slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars. PHOTO: AFP

Hollywood actor Chris Rock has claimed that the Academy had reached out to him once again for hosting the next year's Oscars. The actor, however, also revealed that he had denied the offer. 

As per a CNN report, Arizona Republic reported that Rock said the Academy asked him to return to host for the third time (the comedian hosted the awards show twice, in 2005 and 2016) after the infamous moment at the 2022 ceremony in which Will Smith slapped Rock onstage after Rock joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

The incident took place as Rock was about to present the award for best documentary feature, and less than an hour before Smith would accept the best actor prize for his performance in King Richard.

Rock purportedly told the crowd he turned it down, along with a Super Bowl commercial. He said the slap from Smith "hurt." According to the publication, the comedian’s sold-out crowd was eager to hear his take on the incident, with a fan yelling out, “Talk about it!” Rock continued, referencing Smith’s performance as boxer Muhammed Ali in the 2001 drama Ali, for which Smith earned his first Oscar nomination.

“He’s bigger than me,” Rock said. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.” The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences declined to comment on Rock’s remarks.

Smith smacked the presenter in the face with an open hand and shouted profanity at the comedian for making a joke about his wife’s appearance at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday. Minutes later, when accepting the Oscar for best actor for his role in King Richard, Smith apologised to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his fellow nominees but not to Rock.

The episode with Rock at first appeared to be a scripted joke but turned serious when Smith shouted out, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.”


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