Nine-time Oscar host Billy Crystal called Will Smith’s slap at the awards show “an assault” and “a pretty disturbing incident.”
During the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, Smith took the stage and slapped host Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
Five days after the incident (Friday, April 1), Smith made the decision to resign The academy.
In a recent appearance on Bob Costas’ talk show Back on the Record On HBO Max, Crystal called the altercation “a pretty disturbing incident, to be sure. It was an assault. I have had experiences. I presented the Grammys three times and things were thrown at me.”
The Independent has contacted Smith’s representatives for comment.
Crystal went on to talk about the importance of having only one host during the ceremony, a trend that is losing popularity. “I was getting ready to host the show, really host it, so he could join in,” Crystal said.
“So every time I see events that don’t have a host, yeah, it goes by quicker, but there’s no one there to capitalize on anything and give the audience a sense that someone is in charge.”
The New York Post reported that Crystal had mocked the slap at the end of her new Broadway show, Mr Saturday Night, telling the audience, “We finished a performance and nobody got slapped. Amazing”.
Rock has also faced criticism for his joke about Pinkett Smith, which was made at the expense of his baldness (caused by alopecia).
Although Rock has not yet commented on the joke itself, some sources they told TMZ that he “had no idea” that Pinkett Smith had alopecia.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday (April 6) that it will move up its annual meeting by 10 days to discuss potential sanctions for Smith.
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Billy Crystal Says Will Smith’s Slap at the Oscars Was ‘Assault’