In the most shocking moment in Academy Awards history, Will Smith stood up out of his chair and smacked Chris Rock across the face. Rock hasn’t been seen since presenting the award for Best Documentary to Summer of Soul. One report says he’s in hiding. Here’s what we know.
Hiding In Shame
Immediately after the slap, Rock awarded Questlove an Academy Award while Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper consoled Smith. Smith won his own Oscar not long thereafter and was later seen galavanting at the Vanity Fair party. Rock reportedly went to his dressing room and dipped out the back of the venue.
According to RadarOnline, Rock was shaken and stirred over the slap. He spent time with his inner circle before leaving the show. Even though the Academy Awards is crawling with press, he managed to sneak into his car without being spotted on camera.
Rock’s publicists deliberately ensured Rock would go to Madonna’s party, where no cameras are allowed, while Smith would get photographed living it up. The Madagascar star doesn’t want to get photographed with a bruise on his face.
Bit Of A Long Shot
Tons of folks were not photographed following the Academy Awards. Presenters like Al Pacino and Liza Minnelli were not seen again once they went backstage. Rock is not unique, and his unwitnessed escape from the event says more about the security at the Dolby theater than anything else.
He Has Every Reason To Stay Away
Rock won’t be out of the spotlight for much longer. He’s about to go on tour with six dates at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre starting on March 30. Ticket sales have skyrocketed since the Academy Awards, to nobody’s surprise. While this story alludes to Rock canceling some dates, you’d think he would have done so by now.
For his part, Smith apologized to Rock on Instagram. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.” He also apologized to the Academy Awards again. Until Rock himself speaks up, this is the last we’re likely going to hear about it from Smith.
Once you realize Rock has a financial incentive not to appear in public, this whole story about staying in hiding gets pretty implausible. We also doubt that his publicists controlled which party Rock went to just for the sake of optics. Nothing that happened was planned, so everyone was flying by the seat of their pants. Rock could make a bundle from Netflix if he chose to do a set about this infamous night. Only time will tell.