Jay Leno on Will Smith’s ‘Disturbing’ Oscar Behavior: ‘This Is True Anger’

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Jay Leno is considering Will Smith’s behavior at the Oscars, where he slapped Chris Rock in the face for a joke he made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head.

The former “Tonight Show” the host described the “King Richard” actor as a “good guy”, but admitted that the behavior he showed on live television during the 94th Oscars was “disturbing”. But for Leno, the slap was not the part that shocked him the most.

“For me, what was most disturbing was not the slap, because he smiled a little after he hit. [Rock]”Leno told the Palm Beach Daily News this week.

“It was the cry of obscenity. Then you say, ‘What. What’s going on here? It’s real anger,'” the comedian said.

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Jay Leno says he was more disturbed by Smith’s yelling at Rock than the moment he hit the comedian on stage.
(Screenshot / ABC | Getty Images)

“Sure, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2’, can not wait to see it, okay?” Rock, 57, had joked with reference to the 1997 film “GI Jane” starring Demi Moore, who shaved his head to portray a fictional Navy SEAL candidate.

Pinkett Smith, 50, revealed in 2018 that she was diagnosed with alopecia. The actress has often discussed the challenges of hair loss on Instagram and other social media platforms.

The joke was missed, badly.

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Will Smith beat Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards.

Will Smith beat Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards.
(Getty Images)

Smith, 53, entered the stage from his front row seat and took a turn at Rock with an open palm, giving off a loud smell. Smith went back to his seat and shouted to Rock to leave Pinkett Smith alone. Rock replied that he was just making a “GI Jane” joke – and Smith shouted back at him for the second time.

Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f — ing mouth,” and the crowd fell silent as it became clear that this was no action.

The moment shocked the Dolby Theater audience and viewers back home. During the commercial break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya went up to hug Smith, and Denzel Washington escorted him to the side of the stage. The two talked and hugged, and Tyler Perry also came over to talk.

The incident led to a study conducted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Leno shared his opposition to the investigation.

“What are you investigating?” said Leno. “It had to be the most recorded assault in history. I saw the back of his shoes, I saw Chris’ ear. There were so many cameras on this incident. What are you investigating? I know sometimes things are just that they seem to be. “

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith are participating in the Vanity Fair 2022 Party.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith are participating in the Vanity Fair 2022 Party.
(Rich Fury / VF22 / Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

In the end, the academy announced its decision to exclude Smith from Oscars for 10 years. The decision came after a meeting of the academy’s board to discuss a response to Smith’s actions. One week before the meeting, the actor withdrew from the academy.

“The 94th Academy Awards were intended to be a celebration of the many individuals in our society who did an incredible job over the past year; however, these moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit. stage, “the board of governors said in a letter.

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“During our broadcast, we did not adequately address the situation in space. For this we are sad. This was an opportunity for us to be an example to our guests, viewers and our academy family around the world, and we fell short – unprepared for the unprecedented.

“Today, the Board convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, that Mr Smith is not permitted to participate in the Academy’s events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.

“We would like to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We would also like to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their balance and grace during our broadcast.

The marking tent announces Chris Rock while ticket holders wait to enter outside the Wilbur Theater, Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Boston.  The comedian continues to perform for audiences around the country after the viral Oscar bang.

The marking tent announces Chris Rock while ticket holders wait to enter outside the Wilbur Theater, Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Boston. The comedian continues to perform for audiences around the country after the viral Oscar bang.
(AP Photo / Mary Schwalm)

“This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step towards a greater goal of protecting the safety of our artists and guests and restoring confidence in the academy. We also hope that this can begin a time of healing and recovery for all involved and affected. “

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“I accept and respect the academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement after the verdict.

Smith announced his resignation in a statement on April 1, saying he had “betrayed the trust of the academy.” Smith added that he “deprived other nominees and winners” of their chance to celebrate, saying he would accept any further consequences from the board.

Smith first apologized for his actions minutes after beating Rock when he received his Best Actor award for his role in “King Richard.”

Jay Leno weighed the cancellation culture in September last year, saying comedians have the choice between either

Jay Leno weighted the cancellation culture in September last year, saying comedians have the choice between either “changing over time, or you die.”
(Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images)

“I want to apologize to the academy. I want to apologize to all my co-nominees,” Smith said. “This is a beautiful moment.”

Smith apologized once again in an Instagram post the next day and tagged the comedian.

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“Violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive,” Smith wrote. “My behavior at the Oscars last night was unacceptable and unforgivable. Joking at my expense is 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 apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I’m embarrassed and my actions were not expressions of the man I want to be. There’s no room for violence in a world of love and kindness. “

Rock has not yet publicly shared his thoughts on the incident. But in his first comedy show after the Oscars in Boston, he told an audience that he “is still in a way processing what happened.”

“At some point, I’ll talk about it — and it’s going to be serious, and it’s going to be fun,” Rock said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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