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The history between Will Smith and Chris Rock that led to 2022 Oscars slap

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at Oscars
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at Oscars 03:03

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at Sunday night's Oscars over a joke about Smith's wife. But it is not the first time the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett Smith.

The moment serves as a reminder for many: A joke to one may be an insult to another. On the surface level, this incident appears as another isolated moment from one of Hollywood's biggest nights, but it's far from it.

The loaded joke, which was reportedly not cleared, according to Us Weekly, comes after past digs taken at the Smith's over the years by Rock, and a joke that clearly did not sit well with Pinkett Smith, who has openly discussed her medical diagnosis of alopecia that has led to her hair loss.

This combination of pictures created on March 27, 2022, shows actor Will Smith (L), actress Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 27, 2022. Comedian Chris Rock is seen speaking onstage during the Oscars broadcast. ANGELA WEISS, ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

In 2016, Rock, as host of the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, took a jab at Pinkett Smith in his opening monologue after she posted a video boycotting the Oscars due to their lack of diversity, according to ET.

"Jada said she's not coming. I was like, 'Isn't she on a TV show?' Jada's gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!" the comedian continued. "It's not fair that Will was this good and didn't get nominated. You're right," he said. "It's also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for 'Wild Wild West!'"

At the time, Pinkett Smith brushed off Rock's comments.

"Hey look, it comes with the territory, we gotta keep it moving," she said after the 2016 ceremony. "We got a lot of stuff we gotta handle, a lot of stuff going on in our world right now. We gotta keep it moving."

In 2018, Smith posted a birthday tribute to his ex-wife Sheree Zampino. They share a 29-year-old son, Trey Smith. In the post he says "Happy Bday, @shereezampino. #BestBabyMamaEver! :-) I Love You, Ree-Ree," and Rock comments "Wow. You have a very understanding wife," according to E!, prompting Zampino to respond, "Don't hate."

The Oscars moment seen by millions has drawn reactions across social media, including from celebrities and sports stars.

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