Judd Apatow backtracks controversial comments about Will Smith hitting Chris Rock

‘The truth is that I wasn’t watching the show at that time’

Annabel Nugent
Tuesday 29 March 2022 12:48
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Moment Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

Judd Apatow has clarified his opinion over the Will Smith-Chris Rock Oscars incident following backlash to his comments.

In what has been called “the most insane” Oscars moment ever, Smith took to the stage during Sunday night’s ceremony (27 March) to strike Rock, yelling “keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth”.

The altercation took place after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith.

In the wake of the incident, a number of stars – including Apatow – shared their opinions on Smith’s behaviour.

In a since-deleted tweet, Apatow condemned the actor’s reaction, writing: “He (Smith) could have killed him. That’s pure out of control rage and violence.”

In another tweet that has since been deleted, Apatow jokingly warned Oscars host Amy Schumer not to attend the afterparty because “Will Smith wants to talk to you about the monologue”.

The Knocked Up filmmaker received widespread criticism for both his comments and his deletion of them.

“Of course, @JuddApatow deleted his take when he found out it wasn’t a popular one,” one person wrote.

Apatow has since clarified his remarks during an interview on SiriusXM on Monday (28 March).

Speaking about the controversy, he said: “The truth is that I wasn’t watching the show at that time. I was on the phone talking to a friend and then while we were on the phone, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, Will Smith just punched Chris Rock.’

“And so, I actually haven’t watched it in the context of the show. I’ve seen the clips. So, I’m not sure. My personal thought was I didn’t quite understand the offence, but I may be misreading it because to me, GI Jane was the most gorgeous woman in the world.”

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The joke in question, which caused Smith’s outburst, saw Rock compare Pinkett Smith – who announced last year that she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia – to the titular character (played by Demi Moore) in 1997’s GI Jane.

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” he quipped in an apparent reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Apatow continued: “[GI Jane] was Demi Moore at her strongest, most gorgeous. And the point of that movie was that she shaved her head and she looked fantastic [...] You could use a different example and make it a really hurtful joke. And so, I don’t know, but there may be more levels to it that I don’t understand. And I don’t know all the relationships involved.”

Smith has issued an official statement apologising to Rock for his behaviour, writing that his actions were “unacceptable and inexcusable”. Read the full apology here.

Smith’s mum has also spoken out about her son’s actions, stating that she was “surprised” by his behaviour.

Find the full list of 2022 Oscar winners here. See the latest updates and reactions from the dramatic ceremony here, and read about the biggest talking points here.

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