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Shaq Shares What He’s ‘Hearing On The Streets’ About What Happened Between Will Smith And Chris Rock At The Oscars

While the Academy Awards always include a few viral moments, the 2022 ceremony was on another level entirely. This was mostly due to the infamous slap that occurred late into the night, with Will Smith walking on stage and slapping presenter Chris Rock on live television shortly before accepting the Best Actor Oscar. The discourse surrounding that event has been non-stop, and not Shaq has shared what he’s hearing “on the streets” about what happened between Smith and Rock at the Oscars.

The already infamous slap occurred as Chris Rock was presenting the Best Documentary Feature category, and making a few jabs at the celebrities in the audience. But when he took aim at Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance (specifically her short hair), a physical altercation with Will Smith eventually followed. Shaq has his own opinion on the subject, and it relates back to Rock’s hosting of the Oscars back in 2016. According to the legendary athlete, Smith had asked the comedian to stop making jokes about Jada Pinkett Smith back then. He's shared thoughts on his podcast called The Big Podcast with Shaq, offering new context by saying:

I’m hearing from the streets that Will seen [Chris] and said, ‘Hey man, chill out on that. Hahaha, let it go.’ And Chris kinda blew him off. But still, if somebody [is] blowing me off, I got him in that foul. Now, I’ve always said that a man’s job is to PPL. If you go back to the tape, because you know I like to be my own detective, Will laughed. … he laughed and then Jada did like this. [makes face] That’s when the PPL kicks in. Because all you married guys know, unhappy wife, unhappy life. Now, that he saw Jada uncomfortable, he was like, ‘I’m probably going to have to deal with this at home. I told that boy to chill out, and now, he’s disrespecting me.' He went up and did what he had to do.

Aha. This certainly is another perspective on what happened at the Academy Awards, and might offer some new information for those curious about how things got so out of hand. According to Shaq, Chris Rock had previously been asked by Will Smith to lay off his wife. And so when the comedian took aim at The Matrix Resurrections actress’ appearance, it reportedly caused that violent reaction we saw on television. 

Clearly the conversation surrounding that viral Oscars moment isn’t going to slow anytime soon, with both Will Smith and the Film Academy offering new updates over the past week and change. Plenty of folks have offered their take on the situation, as the slap continues to dominate the news cycle. For his part, Chris Rock is touring and choosing not to include any jokes about the incident during his set.

Chris Rock made a reference to Jada Pinkett Smith and the 1997 movie G.I. Jane, but was seemingly unaware that the actress has been open about her hair loss and alopecia. This has further complicated the ongoing discourse about both Rock’s joke and the slap, with issues of race, sexism, and disabilities factoring in. Shaq’s assertion that the conflict goes back to 2016 is just another aspect of the situation to factor in.

The fallout from the Oscars slap has resulted in Will Smith resigning from the Film Academy, and a number of his projects being put on hold. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.