Smith shocked millions of watchers at the Oscars 2022 when he stormed onto the stage of the Dolby Theatre and struck comedian Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who was seated in the front row with the actor.
Photos showing Garfield texting on his phone quickly went viral. He was questioned about it while speaking on ABC’s The View. “That’s none of your concern,” he replied humorously. He continued saying “I feel so bad because Kevin Costner’s introducing the director nominees most beautifully and elegantly, and I’m like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to be on camera during this. Everyone’s texting me, asking me, like, what the vibe in the room is. At that moment, my friends took priority over Kevin.”
Garfield and Smith were both nominated for Best Actor, with Garfield for ‘tick, tick…BOOM!’ and Smith for ‘King Richard’. Not long after the smack, Smith won the reward. He later apologised for his behaviour toward Rock in a social media message.
Will Smith has been barred from attending the Academy Awards for the next ten years for his slap on the presenter the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences released a statement shortly after, following a meeting of its Board of Governors to discuss disciplinary sanctions against the controversial actor.
Given Smith’s behaviour, a ban from attending Academy activities may have been the only disciplinary sanction available to him, as his membership in the Academy is no longer active.