The slap heard around TV — What happened at the 2022 Academy Awards

The annual Academy Awards took place this past Sunday, with those running the show hoping to garner more viewership after a steady decline in ratings. After a seemingly normal beginning to the show, one unscripted event turned many eyes onto the broadcast. 

It came after a joke from Chris Rock about Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, which made fun of her hair loss due to Alopecia. This prompted Smith to walk up on stage and slap Rock, followed up with obscenities about keeping his wife’s name out of the host’s mouth. 

Smith would later win best actor in a leading role for the film King Richard; in his acceptance speech he would connect his role in the film to his life and try to give reasoning for his earlier actions.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family… I’m being called on in my life to love people and protect people and to be a river to my people,” said Smith.

Smith issued an apology on Monday to both Rock and to the Academy, while there’s been no word from Rock since the incident. It’s expected that Smith will face disciplinary actions from the Academy including suspension, expulsion or other sanctions after he refused to leave following the confrontation. 

The only bright spot for the Academy after the slap heard and seen around TV? Their audience ended up being 58% larger than last year’s broadcast, which was the lowest viewership in the show’s history.