Chris Rock told his story on his own terms, with plenty of sharp jabs at both WIll Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, in Netflix's first-ever live comedy special, "Selective Outrage."
Well, if people thought Chris Rock was going to pull his punches after Will Smith did not, they had another think coming. Rock went live on Netflix for his first public comments since the infamous Oscars slap, and he was relentless.
It was Netflix's first-ever live comedy special, and they couldn't have picked the perfect comedian for the moment to debut this new format. It's been nearly a year since Will Smith walked up to the stage and slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars -- a year in which Smith has said much and Rock had said virtually nothing.
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That all changed Saturday night as the comedian debuted "Chris Rock: Selective Outrage." When he went in, he went in hard on both Will and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, leaving a very split reaction across social media. Some users delighted in the takedown of the Smiths while others were outraged at Rock's comments.
It quickly became clear as he alluded to that slap that shook the world that the title was referring to his assailant. He then made the crowd wait until the closing ten minutes before he really dove in.
"You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith," he said, setting up the segment. When asked by people if it hurt, Rock said he tells them, "It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears."
Smith slapped Rock after the comedian cracked a "G.I. Jane" joke directed toward Jada, referencing her short hair. He has since said he was unaware she suffers from alopecia. After returning to his seat, Smith shouted twice at Rock to "keep my wife's name out your f------ mouth!"
Comparing what he did to what Will did, Rock said, "You know what people say, they say, 'words hurt.' Anybody that say words hurt has never been punched in the face."
"But I’m not a victim, baby. You’ll never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying," Rock insisted. He joked that he "took that s--- like [Manny] Pacquaio."
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He went on to accuse Will of practicing what he called "selective outrage." "Everybody that really knows knows I had nothing to do with that s---," said Rock. "I didn't have any 'entanglements.'"
With that word, Rock evoked the famous 2020 reveal by Jada that she'd had an "entanglement" with August Alsina years ago. She said it happened while she and her husband were on a break and they'd reconciled their relationship and love since then.
Will even joined Jada on an episode of her "Red Table Talk" to talk all about it, which Rock also poked fun at. "Everybody in this industry has been cheated on," he said. "None of us have ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television. None of us. ... Why the f--- would you do that s---?"
He then added, "She hurt him way more than he hurt me, okay?" Rock even claimed he tried to reach out to Will after all of this went down, but Will didn't pick up.
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He said that everybody was calling Will a "b----." "Everybody," he emphasized. "And who's he hit? Me, a n---- he knows he can beat. That is some b---- a-- s---."
Rock also suggested there might have been some bad blood after Rock hosted the 2016 Oscars amid Jada calling for a boycott over the lack of diversity in its nominees -- including her husband.
"She f------ said [I] should quit because Will didn’t get nominated for ‘Concussion,'" Rock said. "So then I do some jokes about it, who gives a f---? That’s how it is. She started it, I finished it. ... Nobody was picking on her."
The physical breakdown between the two could be summed up, per Rock, by the fact Will will go shirtless in a film. "You will never see me do a movie with my shirt off," Rock insisted. "If I’m in a movie getting open-heart surgery, I got on a sweater."
The comedian summed it up by saying, "He played Muhammed Ali, I played Pookie in ‘New Jack City.’"
Rock also explained why he didn't respond in kind when Will physically assaulted him on stage, explaining he didn't swing back "because I was raised."
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"You know what my parents taught me?" Rock asked his audience. "Don't fight in front of White people."
He left things on a mixed note as to where things stand with Will. The "Emancipation" star had previously said that he'd reached out to Rock in an attempt to apologize, but Rock apparently wasn't ready to talk.
"I love Will Smith, my whole life. I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life," Rock said in his special. "Now I watch 'Emancipation' just to see him get whooped." Will plays a slave in the emancipation-era film.
Will has apologized multiple times for the slap. Nothing was done in the immediate aftermath, with Smith later winning the Best Actor Oscar for "King Richard."
Subsequently, Will resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The organization banned him from all of their events, including the Oscars, for ten years. He is still eligible to be nominated and win awards.
One of Will's apologies was directed at Rock. He wrote on Instagram the day after the slap, "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris," he wrote. "I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."
Fans have had a mixed initial reaction, with just as many applauding Rock for standing up for himself and his side of the story as there are those decrying him for again putting Jada's name in his mouth, as well as his comments about watching Will get "whooped" in "Emancipation" and just going so hard.
Will getting permission from Jada to slap Chris Rock again for her name coming out his mouth#ChrisRockLive #ChrisRock #WillSmith pic.twitter.com/NJCo50ZJ9j— J_1neofakindnoocap (@1_ofakindnocap) March 5, 2023 @1_ofakindnocap
Will Smith and Jada when they log on Twitter seeing what Chris Rock said on his Netflix special#ChrisRockLive #WillSmith pic.twitter.com/9hlXk6eLGc— J_1neofakindnoocap (@1_ofakindnocap) March 5, 2023 @1_ofakindnocap
Someone call the police. Chris Rock just killed Will Smith onstage: ‘Everybody called him a bitch…but he chose to hit me. But my momma raised me: You don’t fight in front of white people’ *mic drop* It was fantastic! pic.twitter.com/eA4YoDuAPd— Armando Valle (@ThePRGMR) March 5, 2023 @ThePRGMR
Will Smith: keep my wife’s name… out yo - mouth— J_1neofakindnoocap (@1_ofakindnocap) March 5, 2023 @1_ofakindnocap
Chris Rock Live:#ChrisRockLive #ChrisRock #WillSmith pic.twitter.com/rIORt4t47Z
“Y’all know what happened to me .. i got slapped by Suge Smith… I STILL GOT SUMMERTIME ringing in my ears.”— raveen marie 🏾 (@xoraveen) March 5, 2023 @xoraveen
MY FIRST LAUGH OF THE NIGHT #ChrisRock pic.twitter.com/5yOSEyb3kj
Once again Jada Smith did nothing to Chris Rock for him to be calling her a “bitch” and all these other things. pic.twitter.com/qtT5MLmLm8— TV Fanatic👑⚜️ (@TvKhaleesi) March 5, 2023 @TvKhaleesi
Remember Chris Rock punched down on Jada over her alopecia condition. All the deflecting he is doing bringing up entanglements is gaslighting. He knows that the world hates a Black woman with sexual agency, so he has to make that the topic, not how he violated and humiliated her. pic.twitter.com/wYDyVYVHeu— Reecie @BlackWomenViews (@ReecieColbert) March 5, 2023 @ReecieColbert
Chris Rock: “we all been cheated on.. but we never had the person who cheated on us interview us on tv… I sucked his - how does that make you feel” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣#ChrisRockLive #ChrisRock #WillSmith pic.twitter.com/kTqCj8Fdc9— J_1neofakindnoocap (@1_ofakindnocap) March 5, 2023 @1_ofakindnocap
Chris Rocks selective outrage right titled but wrong comedian this special was not funny. I think Chris Rock needs Jesus and some serious counseling! Chris Rock is 60 years old he needs to change his formula and stop making a mockery of the black community to be funny? pic.twitter.com/8ItCYphYwL— Power123trust Trust (@power123trust) March 5, 2023 @power123trust
Chris Rock can make all the jokes he wants about Will Smith, but making a joke saying “I only watched Emancipation to see Will Smith get whipped” in a room of predominantly white people is disgusting.— ⚜️ (@rayethequeen) March 3, 2023 @rayethequeen
Chris Rock done went in and done took the gloves OFF!!! pic.twitter.com/8k8hooOyJJ— Jay Washington (@MrJayWashington) March 5, 2023 @MrJayWashington
Chris Rock took a year of being the good guy who took the high ground and just decided to go completely vengeful and angry ... I am not morally judging him..do you ... but in the long run -- tonight will not give him the win he was looking for— Real Late 2 Soon Come (@Rosenbergradio) March 5, 2023 @Rosenbergradio
Chris Rock held his special in Baltimore.— ThisWillEndInDarkness (@TWEIDshow) March 5, 2023 @TWEIDshow
Who is from Baltimore?
Jada Pinkett Smith.
He went into her home town and Set. It. Off.#ChrisRock pic.twitter.com/Stp7kkw01a
Chris Rock is an embarrassment to the Black Community. I don’t feel bad what happened to him last year at the Oscars. pic.twitter.com/5cTrwoUz5i— The Chanteezy Is Real ♉️ (@iamchanteezy) March 5, 2023 @iamchanteezy
Chris Rock after his Netflix special not keeping Will Smith wife’s name out his mouth#ChrisRockLive #ChrisRock #WillSmith pic.twitter.com/LD0UOe50lF— J_1neofakindnoocap (@1_ofakindnocap) March 5, 2023 @1_ofakindnocap
"Chris Rock: Selective Outrage" is streaming now on Netflix.