It was the slap heard 'round the world. On an unassuming April Oscar's stage, Chris Rock told a joke aimed not-too-kindly at the wife of actor Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith. Will walked up on stage, slapped Rock, and then resumed his seat before a stunned audience.
Instantly, the world was divided into two camps: those who felt Smith was justified in defending his wife's dignity, and those who felt that he was completely out of line. But one person has been notably quiet about the emotional side of the incident: Rock himself.
On tour with Dave Chapelle, Rock finally unleashed all he's been holding back about the infamous slap, and what he thinks it means about Smith that it happened in the first place.
Chris Rock Says the Mask Has Come Off of Will Smith
Comedian Dave Chapelle, touring in the UK with Rock, turned to him on Thursday and asked how he really felt about the incident.
Turns out, Rock feels some kind of way about the whole thing.
DailyMail writes, "'God---- right… the motherf----er hit me over a bulls--t joke, the nicest joke I ever told.'
'Will did the impression of a perfect person for 30 years, and he ripped his mask off and showed us he was as ugly as the rest of us.'
'Whatever the consequences are… I hope he doesn’t put his mask back on again, and lets his real face breathe. I see myself in both men,' he said."
Smith apologized in the immediate aftermath of the slap, and has since posted an emotional apology on Instagram. At the time, Smith apologized to Rock and his family, but added, "this is probably irreparable."
Rock, who was initially polite and publicly distanced himself from an emotional reaction to what amounts to assault, has clearly finally had enough. Oh, and he never did accept that apology - heartfelt or not.
The Fallout for Will Smith
The fallout from the infamous slap has led to swift fallout for Will Smith.
While some have taken his side, other argue that there's no good excuse for putting your hands on another human except in defense of someone's life - not their feelings.
In many circles, Smith has become persona non grata and people don't want to work with him. Some have accused him of being his wife's whipping boy, and Jada Pinkett herself has received no end of criticism for her behavior and own past faux pas.
But whether or not this will translate into long-term damage for Smith's career remains uncertain. It's not uncommon that a star's bad behavior might get them black-listed - for a time - but it's hard to keep a money-making celebrity down and Smith can still bring in the dollars. However, his career has been on the wane in recent years and he doesn't have the pull and popularity he once had. So this could be the perfect time for Smith to quietly retire to a career behind the camera or music, instead of maintaining his headliner career.
Either way, it's clear that Chris Rock has finally had enough of being polite and dancing around the truth, and was ready to let people know how he really feels about what happened on that Oscars stage.