For the first time since being slapped by Will Smith during the live Academy Awards show, comedian Chris Rock has spoken out about the incident.
During his appearance at The Wilbur in Boston on Wednesday night, Rock told the crowd, “I’m still processing what happened.”
The crowd in attendance at Rock’s comedy tour stop screamed Rock’s name before he took the stage in his first appearance since Sunday’s Oscars. One fan reported that the comedian was dressed in all white and received a standing ovation when we walked out on stage.
“What’s up, Boston?” he asked the crowd. “How was your weekend?!”
After telling the crowd that he was processing Sunday’s incident and didn’t have a lot to say about what happened, he added:
“…So if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about [it] and it will be serious and funny.”
On Sunday (March 27), while Rock was on stage to present the Best Documentary Feature trophy, he took the opportunity to throw some jokes toward some of the celebrities in attendance. But things went sour when the comedian targeted Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, with a joke about her hair.
“Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2…can’t wait to see it,” Rock said to Pinkett Smith who rolled her eyes at the joke.
Will Smith quickly came to his wife’s defense, making his way to the stage where he slapped Rock across the face. When Smith returned to his seat he yelled at Rock saying, “Keep my wife’s name out of your ****ing mouth!” Rock declined to press charges.
The confrontation led to a public apology from Smith who posted a statement to Instagram on Monday. He called his own behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable,” adding that jokes about his wife’s medical condition were too much for him to bear.
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The Academy released a statement Wednesday saying that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony following the on-air incident, but refused.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” read a statement issued to PEOPLE. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”
The Academy earlier condemned Smith’s behavior and that they have “officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”