Chris Rock’s GI Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith was an ‘ad-lib’ and hadn’t been in the comedian’s script, it’s been revealed.
During the Oscars this weekend, Rock was slapped across the face by Will Smith after he compared Pinkett Smith - who has been open about her battle with hair loss due to alopecia - to GI Jane.
In an interview with Variety, ABC’s Rob Mills has revealed what was going on behind the scenes when the now infamous moment happened.
Mills was inside the Oscars production trailer when the events unfolded - he told Variety: “Chris Rock came on and he was doing, I think, material based on what happened that night as any comedian will do.
“He made the joke. Obviously, you could see the joke did not land with Jada. And then you see Will start to get up and walk up.”
Mills told the news outlet the joke hadn’t been scripted and the severity of the situation only became clear when the event’s producers heard Rock swear.
He explained: “You started to realise this is real once Chris, who certainly knows the limits of broadcast standards, said, ‘Will Smith slapped the shit out of me.'
“That’s when it became obvious that this was not a joke.”
After Rock uttered those words, Smith returned to his seat where he shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”
Following the outburst, viewers questioned why Smith wasn’t removed. But when asked about whether that was considered, Mills said he wasn’t aware of any of those discussions.
He said: “This was a real almost billion to one moment where the person involved in this incident was the probable winner for Best Actor.
“So it’s just a scenario you don’t really know and you just got to keep the show going in the meantime and then obviously, AMPAS [Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] will address this afterwards, in the post mortem.”
Smith did indeed go on to win the Best Actor award for his role in King Richard, and used his speech to apologise to ‘the Academy’ and his ‘fellow nominees’.
He didn’t apologise to Rock until the following day, when he released a statement on Instagram in which he said: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behaviour at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.
"Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
“I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. 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.
“I would also like to apologise to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologise to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”
Featured Image Credit: ABC
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