A glorious red carpet, impeccably dressed stars, and a night to celebrate the best of cinema; that’s what the Oscars are designed for. The 94th Academy Awards 2022 will go down in history, but for the wrong reasons. Sadly, all anyone can remember from the prestigious event is the infamous Will Smith and Chris Rock altercation. The Men in Black actor went up on stage and slapped the comedian across the face. All this owing to a not-so-well received joke.
It has been close to six months since the incident. Despite Smith’s attempted damage control, there is still no concrete resolution in sight. While the incident had repercussions that affected both parties, what did it mean for their former relationship? Were they friends before the controversial event? Let us find out.
The Will Smith-Chris Rock equation before the slap
Will Smith and Chris Rock have known each other for close to thirty years. One of their earliest professional interactions was way back in 1995. Rock featured in season 6 episode 2 of NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a fictional actor Maurice Perry and his sister Jasmine. The extremely popular show was, in fact, Smith’s first foray into acting. The two also starred together in the 1999 mockumentary titled Torrance Rises, directed by Spike Jonze.
Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith have also had a working relationship dating back decades. In 1997, she promoted her film Scream 2 on Rock’s television show. The two even worked together as voiceover stars on the popular animated flick Madagascar. The two families seemed to have close relations back in the day. In an interview for Madagascar 3, Rock even shared how his daughters look up to Will and Jada’s daughter Willow.
The aftermath of slap-gate
Despite Smith’s attempt to mend fences, the relationship between him and the stand-up comedian is still strained. The Hancock actor filmed a full-fledged apology video, taking some responsibility and urging Rock to reach out when he’s ready to talk. The video, however, did not go over well with the comedian. Calling it a ‘hostage video’ in a live performance, Chris dissed the apology and made further jokes at Will’s expense.
Jada also spoke about the incident on a Facebook chat show called Red Table Talk. Referring to her husband and Chris, she hopes that the “two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk, and reconcile.” She even expressed that given “the state of the world today, we need them both.”
Given that the two celebrities once shared a camaraderie, perhaps there is still some hope for a reconciliation. Do you think the two former friends will reconcile? Let us know in the comments below. For those interested, Rock’s comedy special Chris Rock: Tamborine is streaming on Netflix.