LOS ANGELES, March 4 (Reuters) – A year after he was beaten on stage at the Oscars, Chris Rock hammered Will Smith and his wife in a comedy special streamed live around the world, joking that he liked to see the actor smitten in his latest film.
Live on Netflix ( NFLX.O ) on Saturday from the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore, Rock said he had watched the slavery drama “Emancipation” only to see Smith “get the look”, cheered “hit him again” and “you missed a place. “
In March 2022, Smith proceeded to the Oscars stage and punched Rock in the face after the comedian joked about the appearance of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The “King Richard” star returned to his seat in the audience and later won best actor.
Rock had remained largely silent on the incident until the end of his hour-long special, when he accused Will Smith of “selective outrage,” also the name of his special.
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The comedian said Pinkett Smith had caused tension among the three, in part by calling for a boycott of the 2016 Oscars when Rock hosted. Pinkett Smith said she objected to Will Smith and other Black actors not being nominated.
Rock, who is also black, joked with Pinkett Smith at the Oscars that year and again last year.
“She starts it. I finish it,” Rock said.
Rock also addressed marital issues that the Smiths have discussed publicly. Pinkett Smith admitted to an affair that she called an “entanglement” in 2020.
“I had no entanglements,” Rock said. “She hurt him a lot more than he hurt me.”
Representatives for the Smiths did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Will Smith issued a statement of apology to Rock and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the group that hands out the Academy Awards, the day after hitting Rock. The Academy banned Smith from attending the Academy Awards for 10 years.
The comedy special was the first event to be streamed live on Netflix, which is testing the technology as it considers expanding into other real-time programming.
Netflix agreed to pay $40 million for two rock comedy specials under a deal reached in 2016, according to a person familiar with the matter. Saturday’s special was the second of the two.
Rock spent most of the show riffing on topics ranging from Britain’s royal family to the Kardashians, abortion and his dating life. He finished by saying why he didn’t fight back when Smith hit him.
“I have parents, and you know what my parents taught me?” he said. “Don’t fight in front of white people.”
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tom Hogue
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