“It’s season to heal and I’m ready for it.” This is the brief message on Instagram from Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Will Smith, and the target of the joke in bad taste that changed the course of the gala of the 94th edition of the Oscars, last Sunday at the Dolby theater in Los Angels. The actress has thus become the last to speak out among the protagonists of the moment that starred in the ceremony of the awards of the Academy of Hollywood. Comedian Chris Rock’s dig at her haircut, shaved head, prompted a slap in the face from her husband watched live by 16.6 million people, according to final viewing figures announced Tuesday. Rock, who has declined to press charges, is the only one who remains silent on this matter.
The unexpected act of violence did not catapult the numbers of spectators, as one might think. According to the Nielsen company, some 614,000 people tuned into the broadcast between 11:00 p.m. and 11:14 p.m., the moment in which Will Smith tearfully accepted the first Oscar of his career, as leading actor, after having been nominated for But and Looking for happiness. That was the peak moment for the ABC network, which registered 17.4 million people (an audience of 3.9) witnessing the uncomfortable moment in which the interpreter, through tears, apologized to the academy and the nominees. On the internet, however, Smith’s name was Googled 25 times more than the winning film of the night, CODA, according to data from the audience firm. This year’s edition grew almost 60% compared to the 2021 audience. However, this has not prevented it from being the second worst number of spectators in the history of the Oscars, after precisely those of last year, which only touched the 10 million.
Pinkett Smith’s message came a few hours after her husband also took to Instagram to apologize to Chris Rock, whom, however, he had left out of his apology on Sunday night when he picked up his Oscar. “Violence, in any of its forms, is poisonous and destructive. My behavior last night was unacceptable and indefensible… I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of place and I was wrong, ”she wrote on the social network.
Carolyn Smith, the actor’s mother, confessed that she was surprised by the episode during an interview with local television in Philadelphia. “This is the first time I’ve seen him do something like this. The first time in his life… I had never seen him before,” she said of him. Carolyn Smith described her son, 53, as a person with people skills. Will Smith is the eldest of four children born to a marriage of a small-business refrigeration engineer and a school board employee in a middle-class suburb.
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Meanwhile, the slap continues to add signs of repudiation. Richard Williams, the patriarch of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, the man on whose life Smith’s Oscar-winning film is based, said in a statement that he rejects all physical violence “unless it is used as a form of Self Defense”. The athletes attended the gala on Sunday, but avoided all the press that approached them to ask about the episode.