Quick question: Where’s Chris? After Will Smith slapped him onstage at the Oscars over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which she shaved due to alopecia, almost everyone has shared their take on what happened — except Chris Rock himself. Tiffany Haddish called it “beautiful,” pundits compared it to 9/11, and Liam Payne used it to remind the world he’s famous enough to know both parties involved. Smith didn’t disappear after the incident, winning Best Actor less than an hour later, apologizing to the Academy (but not Rock) in his speech, and later getting jiggy at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. But what about Rock? The comedian reacted to the Slap in the moment, telling Smith, “Wow, dude! It was a G.I. Jane joke!” from the stage — comments that were censored in the U.S. broadcast because of Smith’s cursing — but he hasn’t said anything publicly since. On Wednesday, TMZ spotted the comedian arriving in Boston to begin his Ego Death Tour, but he wasn’t talking to the paps. This was the same day news broke that the Academy reportedly asked Smith to leave the ceremony, but he refused.
One person who reportedly spoke to Rock about The Slap was Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes. In an Ellen interview that will air in full on Thursday, Sykes said that Rock apologized to her. “The first thing he said was ‘I am so sorry.’” Sykes told Ellen DeGeneres. Sykes asked Rock why he was apologizing, and Rock allegedly said “‘It was supposed to be your night. You and Amy and Regina…I’m so sorry, because now this is going to be about this.’ That’s who Chris is.” Denzel Washington reportedly spoke to both the comedian and Smith just after the incident. But we don’t know what either party said, since Washington has kept quiet too.
TMZ reported that Rock had planned to attend the event for only his moment onstage and then to leave immediately after, but not even Getty snapped a photo of the presenter post-Slap. After the show, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that he declined to file charges against Smith. He didn’t seem to let the Slap change his plans for the night, though, attending an after-party hosted by Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager. (That move wasn’t specifically to avoid Smith — Rock and Oseary are friends, and his celebration seems to historically be Rock’s after-party of choice.) At that event, Rock posed with Robert De Niro, Woody Harrelson, photographer JR, and Oseary inside a black-and-white print of his face in photos posted to Instagram by JR and Oseary, who called him “my brother” in a caption. Nothing from them on the Slap, though!
The next morning, Diddy, of all people, claimed to speak for Rock and Smith, saying the beef was already squashed and the two are “brothers.” “That’s not a problem,” he told “Page Six.” “That’s over. I can confirm that.” But TMZ cast doubt on that credible source, claiming Rock and Smith hadn’t talked since Rock left the stage (despite an earlier “Page Six” report claiming they would patch things up after the show). TMZ’s source, a friend of the comedian, said Rock was unaware of Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. But Rock and Smith have been Hollywood acquaintances for decades — airing shows on “Nick at Nite” is a bonding experience, it seems — so that silence surely can’t last forever. (It may be able to last longer, though, thanks to Rock living across the country from Smith in New Jersey.) Vulture reached out to Rock for comment but did not hear back.
This post has been updated throughout.