NEW YORK, NY – Satellite radio personality Howard Stern ripped into actor Will Smith over his infamous slap to the face of Chris Rock Sunday night after the 2022 Oscars host made an unflattering joke about the King Richard actor’s wife, claiming that his lack of impulse control may stem from mental health issues.
During Sunday’s award show, host Rock had poked fun at the shaved head of Jada Pinkett-Smith – Will Smith’s wife – who suffers from alopecia, saying, “G.I Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.”
After noticing that his wife appeared to be reacting negatively to the joke about her appearance, Smith swiftly walked onto the stage during the live broadcast and slapping Rock in the face, drawing stunned gasps from the audience. The encounter continued after Smith returned to his seat, where he berated Rock with several f-bombs.
The incident made for an even more awkward situation a short time later in the show, when Smith went on to win the Best Actor award for his role in 2021’s King Richard.
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In his acceptance speech, he apologized to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the audience for his outburst earlier in the evening, but not directly to Rock; however, Smith would later issue an apology directly to the Oscars host, saying that “I was out of line and I was wrong.”
However, the fact that Smith was compelled to interrupt a live television broadcast and assault a man in front of the entire viewing audience for a perceived slight against his wife “disturbed” Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of all Media” saying on his SiriusXM Show on Monday that the incident may have revealed deep-rooted mental health problems that the rapper-turned-actor may be dealing with.
“This is a sign of great mental illness when you can’t control your impulse. Not only that, it was hardly an insulting joke. It was not even a good joke,” Stern said. “The joke, quite frankly, was beneath Chris Rock. It was a throwaway. ‘You look like G.I. Jane.’ He didn’t think twice about what he was about to do. Now that’s crazy, when you can’t contain yourself like that.”
At the same time that Stern was claiming that Smith is “clearly insane” and is “a guy who’s got real issues,” he also praised Rock for being a professional and carrying on with the show despite the embarrassing attack.
“Poor Chris Rock is a comedian and just trying to get through the day to make the f**king people laugh at that horrible ceremony,” he said. “He’s so fast comedy-wise, he actually covered and made a joke and said, ‘Gee, best Oscars yet.’”
The outspoken Stern, 68, berated the failure of event security to do anything about the assault, and compared Smith’s actions to those of former President Donald Trump, saying “Will Smith and Trump are the same guy” without explaining exactly how they are alike.
“The first thing I said was ‘What the f**k is going on because where’s security?’” Stern said. “This is a live television event. Not one person came out because he’s Will Smith. This is how Trump gets away with shit.”