Oscars Producer Confirms What We Suspected About Chris Rock's G.I. Jane Joke

There's arguably not been as much talk about an altercation since the Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali "fight of the century" in 1971. Will Smith's attack on Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars was the slap that was felt all around the world. Will delivered a mighty right-hander after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

An uncensored video has been released of the incident. Will was laughing at a quip about Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz being nominated for the same category. "He can't win if [she] loses," Rock said. "He's praying Will Smith wins." But the laughter turned to fury after Jada, who has alopecia, became the punchline. "Jada, I love ya, G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," Rock joked. Initially, Will laughed, but Jada rolled her eyes, prompting Will to approach Rock. "Uh, oh! the comedian said. Then ... BAM! "Oh wow!" a clearly dazed Rock exclaimed.

Smith returned to his seat. "Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth," he shouted. The actor later made a tearful apology to the Academy — noticeably omitting Rock's name from the mea culpa. The Los Angeles Times reported the altercation had Academy organizers up in arms as they decided on the correct course of action. There was pressure, internally and externally, for Smith to be expelled from the Academy. In an interview, the Oscars' producer, Will Packer, spoke about the joke that started the whole debacle.

Chris Rock was just being Chris Rock

The Oscar's producer, Will Packer, spoke to "Good Morning America" about the altercation. He admitted he'd thought the incident had been pre-planned by Will Smith and Chris Rock. He shared that the joke hadn't been scripted and that Rock was just "freestyling." Packer said the LAPD rushed to the scene, claiming the altercation counted as an act of "battery" and that they were prepared to "go get [Smith] right now." Under California law, misdemeanor battery can result in six-months to a year in jail. Felony battery can lead to three years in state prison.

Packer said the cops were "laying out the options" to apprehend and punish the actor to the full extent of the law. Packer said Rock immediately stepped in, though. He stopped the LAPD in their tracks, and insisted no legal action be taken against Smith –- in any form.

The Oscars has been vilified for lack of diversity. So, it was a significant milestone that the 2022 Academy Awards included the first all-Black production team in the show's history. The Guardian notes that because it was a Black man hitting another Black man it made #Slapgate even more problematic, as it played into racist tropes about inner city "problems" of Black on Black violence.