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Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. Now what?

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

By now it seems like everyone has seen or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at Sunday’s Academy Awards after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Smith issued an apology to Rock on Monday, saying he “reacted emotionally” to the joke.

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be,” Smith wrote. “There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

Still, some questions remain.

Did Chris Rock know about Pinket Smith’s alopecia?

Smith took offense to Rock joking about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

“Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock said while presenting the award for best documentary.

Smith walked on stage, slapped Rock, then walked back to his seat and yelled at the comic to “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”

It is unclear whether Rock was aware that Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, which is hair loss that can be caused by an autoimmune response.

Some on social media noted that Rock, who produced the 2009 documentary “Good Hair,” should have known better.

“It’s documentary about hair culture and the business of hair,” Rock told the Salt Lake Tribune at the time of the film’s release. “My daughter was just complaining about her hair one day and I talked to some of my their friends and their daughters were having hair issues. It just seemed like a good jumping off point to start a movie.”

CNN has reached out to reps for Rock and the Smiths for comment.

Will the Academy take further action?

Not long after the incident, Smith was announced as the winner for best actor for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams, in “King Richard.”

In his acceptance speech Smith noted that “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.”

In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world,” Smith said. “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people. And to be a river to my people.”

“And I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and you’ve got be able to have people talk crazy about you,” he added. “In this business, you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s okay.”

Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not Rock.

The Academy said in a tweet on Sunday night that the organization “does not condone violence of any form.”

On Monday, the Academy condemned Smith’s actions.

“We 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,” the Academy said in a statement to CNN.

The Academy’s Board of Governors can vote on disciplinary measures such as suspension or expulsion from the organization.

A teachable moment?

This year’s producer, Will Packer, received some criticism after tweeting, “Welp…I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars.”

“Making jokes about an assault that happened during your show isn’t the congratulatory message you think it is,” Packer wrote in response to some comments. “Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it.”

“I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you,” he added. “But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”

Director Judd Apatow talked about the incident on SiriusXM’s “The Dean Obeidallah Show” on Monday.

“Hopefully it becomes a teachable moment where Will Smith can speak to people in an honest way about why that was not the way to go,” Apatow said. “We’ll see in the coming days how he communicates, and one assumes with all he does lately with the ‘Red Table’ [his wife’s talk show] and all of that, that we will hear a very clear expression of why that was a terrible, embarrassing, and dangerous mistake.”

Will Will Smith’s career suffer?

Smith’s career has had some decided ups (“Independence Day” and the “Men In Black” franchise) and downs (“Wild Wild West” and “After Earth”).

But he was definitely on an upswing with “King Richard,” critically acclaimed and hailed as a triumph for Smith.

He has several projects coming up, including the Antoine Fuqua directed film “Emancipation.”

It is not yet known what, if any, professional repercussions Smith will face.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Entertainment

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